Veteran Minda labor activist’s abduction, disappearance hit


The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), an NGO that aims to empower Filipino workers in the formal and informal sectors to claim their labor and human rights, condemns the abduction of veteran Mindanao labor activist William Lariosa in Bukidnon province on April 10 and demands his immediate surfacing.

Lariosa, 63, is a long-time organizer of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May First Movement). For years, the military has harassed him and his family  in Davao, forcing them to seek refuge in Bukidnon. Prior to his disappearance, he had been organizing pineapple, banana and sugarcane plantation workers in Bukidnon since 2021.

Information gathered by the fact-finding team formed by KMU-Southern Mindanao Region shows that elements of the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army under the command of Lt. Col. Gilbert F. Gomez abducted Lariosa in Butong village of Bukidnon’s Quezon town. Residents confirmed to his family that Lariosa was indeed arrested on April 10 by the military, even as the latter continued to deny that Lariosa is in its custody. Lariosa is the 24th victim of enforced disappearance in the country under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and no one has been held accountable for this crime.

Lariosa’s abduction went hand-in-hand with a military operation against rebel group New People’s Army in the area, another proof that the government conflates activism with support to rebel groups or terrorism. We would like to remind the government that union organizing is not a crime and workers are the backbone of any economic recovery. Organizing is a basic human right and element of a functioning democracy. The Philippines is a signatory to many UN and ILO conventions on the freedoms of association and expression and other labor and human rights. Enforced disappearance is the gravest human rights violation as it negatively impacts the individual and his/her family and colleagues.

Why is the government running after human rights defenders and workers protecting their interests?  We demand that the perpetrators of Lariosa’s abduction in the military be held accountable. The government should address the root causes of the armed insurgency in the country. The many cases of enforced disappearances in the country should stop. President Marcos Jr should issue strong and unequivocal statements and make resolute actions against this grave violation of human rights.



Public Information and Education Department


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