The Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) strongly condemns the vicious killing of Alex Dolorosa, a paralegal officer, and union organizer of the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) Philippines Bacolod chapter. Dolorosa is also an LGBTQIA activist under the BPO Employees, Gay, Lesbians and Allies for Genuine Acceptance and Democracy (BEGLAD). This heinous act of violence against a development worker like Alex Dolorosa is not only a tragedy, but also an affront to the advancement of civic spaces.
Development workers and rights defenders are crucial in promoting rights-based development and social justice. They enable people to claim their rights and freedoms, including the right to participate in governance and development, freedom of expression, and freedom of association, among others.
The killing of Dolorosa highlights the continuing failure of the Philippine government to guarantee these basic freedoms under a worsening climate of impunity.
BIEN in its statement reveals how the government’s apparent negligence has put the security of BPO workers at risk. Amid the red-tagging and vilification by state forces, the government remains blind and deaf to their working conditions. The recent branding by Jeffrey Celiz of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) and BIEN as communist party-led labor sector and trade union operators for the radicalization of workers adds insult to injury. Celiz is a self-acclaimed former activist; and is currently a mouthpiece for the National Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
This blatant red-tagging is contemptible, coming right after the murder of Alex Dolorosa.
CPDG calls on the broad number of civil society to join together in denouncing the continuing attacks against rights defenders including their red-tagging. We acknowledge and welcome the statement of condemnation issued by the Department of Justice (DoJ) for the killing of Dolorosa. We ask the DoJ to denounce the red tagging as well of BIEN and EILER including all other organizations, activists and human rights defenders. Continuing red tagging and vilification of activists has led to serious violations of their rights including their arrests on trumped up charges and even to their killing.
Following the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines human rights situation and its acceptance of the various recommendations by the UN Human Rights Council, we appeal to the government to seriously do its task of upholding human rights, safeguarding the rights and welfare of all Filipinos including human rights defenders, and take serious measures to end the worsening climate of impunity.#eof#