Electronics Watch Condemns the Killing of Dandy Miguel

On the night of 28 March 2021, a young trade union leader, Dandy Miguel, was shot dead while riding his motorcycle back home from work in the Philippines. The incident took place in the Canlubang industrial zone, south of Manila. Mr. Miguel was the President of the Fuji Electric union and vice chair of the labour federation, Pamantik-KMU. He sustained eight gunshot wounds and died instantly. His family learned he had been killed when they saw a photo on social media taken by a passer-by.

The Philippines has been in the international spotlight for the extrajudicial killings under the Duterte regime. In 2020, the International Trade Union Confederation ranked the Philippines as one of the ten worst countries in the world for violations of workers’ rights. Union members were at particular risk of violence, intimidation, and murder. According to our monitoring partner, the Centre for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), attacks against unionists, activists and critics have escalated during the pandemic. They have been victims of illegal arrest and trumped-up charges. Authorities have used search warrants to conduct raids, plant firearms and explosives, and bring charges based on false evidence. CTUHR has recorded four union members killed during the recent community quarantine. On 7 March 2021, nine activists were killed on a day dubbed Bloody Sunday.

Dandy Miguel started working for Fuji Electric in 2006. He was elected president of the factory's union in 2017. He was re-elected in 2020, leading a union of 400 workers. Fuji Electric is affiliated to the national trade union, the Metal Workers’ Alliance, which is affiliated to the global trade union federation, IndustriALL. The union had recently completed negotiations with management on a collective bargaining agreement to increase wages and provide stricter health and safety measures. Mr. Miguel was also helping workers who had been laid off because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Electronics Watch condemns the killing of Dandy Miguel.

Harassment, intimidation, and killing of activists and union members with impunity sends a chilling message to all workers in the Philippines. This violence forms part of a deliberate strategy to stop workers from trying to claim their human rights at work. It undermines the fundamental right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. It erodes labour standards, harms workers’ chances of gaining decent work, and undercuts economic and social development.

Governments and business must work with civil society to ensure labour rights activists and trade union members can exercise their rights and help build safe, healthy, and secure workplaces without fear. Gemma Freedman of the public sector union, UNISON, and a trustee of Electronics Watch said: “I am shocked and disturbed by yet another murder of a Philippine trade unionist for attempting to practice what are recognised as universal human rights. These are the foundation of democratic, healthy societies. Trade unionists like Dandy should be welcomed to the negotiating table by employers and given protection by governments so they do not have to fear for their lives.  We redouble our resolve to work with our members so they can use their public sector buying power to leverage safe environments for trade unionists.”

We will work to ensure Dandy Miguel and other labour rights defenders in the Philippines have not died in vain. We will remember them for their brave struggle and the contributions they made to Philippine workers. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining form the foundation of decent work for all and resilient supply chains. We will strive to strengthen this foundation and defend those who defend their rights wherever we can.