Labor groups: Justice for murdered transpo group leaders

In just one month, two transport group leaders are killed in Cotabato and Davao cities

NO JUSTICE. The killing of local transport group leaders remain unsolved in Cotabato and Davao cities. Graphic by Raffy De Guzman/ Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) called for the immediate arrest of the suspects behind the murder of two local transport group leaders.

In an interview with Rappler, APL Secretary-General Josua Mata condemned the killings, saying it was part of a “culture of impunity.”

Hindi na maganda yung nangyayari eh. Ang dami nang namamatay. Kawawa yung mga pamilya. Hindi ito makatarungan,” Mata said. (What’s happening is horrible. So many people are getting killed. The families are the ones who suffer. This is unjust.)

“We have been demanding the government to stop the impunity. They have the entire state machinery, this is within their power,” he added.

Mata said that many suspect the killings to be related to the corruption case filed by the victims against Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Davao Regional Director Benjamin Go.

Early this year nag-file ng complaint. Tapos ngayon, isa-isa nang pinapatay ang mga complainant,” Mata said. (They filed a complaint early this year. And now, the complainants are getting killed.)

Unresolved cases

The most recent crime involved Kagi Alimudin Lucman, 47, who was killed by a lone gunman on July 18. Right after he took his 3 children to school, Lucman was shot in front of Cotabato City State Polytechnic College at about 7 am while he was driving his multicab jeepney.

Fatal gunshot wounds in the head and chest ended Lucman’s life. The person seated beside him was also wounded but survived the incident.

Lucman was the president of the Notre Dame Village Operators and Drivers Association (NDVODA), a transport group affiliated with the National Confederation of Transportworkers’ Unions (NCTU)-APL since 2010.

Two weeks before Lucman’s death, transport leader Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin was murdered in Davao City.

According to the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Petalcorin was killed by a lone gunman in the morning of July 2. He sustained 4 gunshot wounds and died on the spot.

Petalcorin was the President of the Network of Transport Organization-Davao (NETO-NCTU-APL). His group was campaigning to oust LTFRB’s Go due to alleged corruption.

Earlier this year, on January 25, Emilio Rivera, then head of the Matina Aplaya Transport Cooperative  (MATRANSCO) was also gunned down by unknown suspects.

Carlos Cirilo of the Davao-based Mindanao Alliance of Transport Organizations (MATO), meanwhile, survived an attempted killing when a grenade was thrown into his home. Fortunately, it did not explode.

NCTU-Davao revealed that Rivera and Cirilo also disclosed many irregularities in the LTFRB Davao office.

Pressure to act

Mata said that different groups are already trying to put pressure on the Aquino government to solve the killings.

“We already have an international signature campaign and we’re asking help from international labor and human rights groups like the ILO (International Labor Organization). We’re writing petitions to the President, the DOJ (Department of Justice) and DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment),” Mata added.

Mata said the DOJ referred the case to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) but the groups want a “more robust way of doing things.”

“At the local level, may pressure din from transport workers. Naglalagay sila ng mga banners and posters sa kanilang mga terminals, he said. (At the local level, the transport workers are putting pressure on the government. They put protest banners and posters in their terminals.)

“They have the NBI, PNP and DOJ to stop this. The question is, do they want to?” Mata asked.

According to CTUHR, Lucman was already the 6th transport leader killed during the Aquino administration’s first 3 years.

Rappler called the LTFRB Davao office but they refused to give a statement on the issue. – Rappler.com

Photo from Shutterstock.

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