"It's not about my politics. Something happened way to quick. A bunch of men who played it sick. They divide and conquer" -- Husker Du

Monday, September 26, 2005

Vakbondsleider Nestlé vermoord in de Filippijnen

In de Filippijnen werd alweer een activist vermoord. Dit keer gaat het over Diosdado Fortuna, een leider van de Nestlé staking in Cabuyao waar de arbeiders al drie jaar in staking zijn. Met Filippijnengroepen België zijn we meteen in actie geschoten ens chreven we protesbrieven. Via een vriendin van een Zwitserse NGO kregen we zelfs het adres van de Nestlé topman in Zwitserland te weten. Ook hij mag een protestbrief in de bus verwachten:

We in the Philippines Solidarity Groups Belgium (Filippijnengroepen België – FGB) are apalled by the news about the assassination of Mr. Diosdado Fortuna, a brave union leader from the Southern Tagalog region in the Philippines. As some of us have had the privilege to meet Ka Fort in person just a couple of weeks ago we can attest to the fact that he was a gentle and soft-spoken man who impressed us with his dedication to the defense of workers' rights. We are saddened by his dead and grieve with his family and with his comrades in the struggle.

Fortuna, fondly called “Ka Fort” by friends and comrades, was the president of the Union of Filipro Employees – Drug, Food & Allied Industries (UFE-DFA-KMU) in Cabuyao, Laguna. He was also the chairman of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) or the Unity of Workers in Southern Tagalog, the regional chapter of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Southern Tagalog; and he was a member of the National Council of KMU.

Ka Fort was shot at close range by unidentified men while he was riding his motorbike on his way home from the Nestlé picket. He sustained two fatal gunshot wounds in the chest and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Calamba Provincial Hospital.

You will be well aware that Ka Fort is not the first Philippine activist to be killed by bullets. To the contrary, we have been informed about assassinations of progressive leaders all too often. After peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy and human rights activist Eden Marcellana, Ka Fort is the third regional leader in Southern tagalog who has been killed under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. After Atty. Norman Bocar from Samar and United Church of Christ in the Philippines pastor Raul Domingo from Palawan, Fortuna is the third prominent progressive social leader to be killed in the country in the span of one month.

In these circumstances, we have ample reason to believe that this killing is politically motivated and makes part of a military campaign to silence progressive activists. Fortuna has allegedly been on the hit list of the military due to his active political involvement. He was under constant surveillance and harassment by military and paid goons of Nestlé since the Cabuyao plant went on strike on January 14, 2002 over deadlock in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The Nestlé management refuses to include the retirement benefits of the workers in the CBA, despite an earlier ruling of the Supreme Court in favor of the workers.

We are abhorred by the current political climate in the Philippines where progressive leaders are killed with impunity. We urge you therefore to exert all your influence to ensure an impartial investigation in the killing of Ka Fort. Moreover, the political killings must stop now. We count on you to make this happen.

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