DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A banana plantation worker who was a member of a workers’ union has survived a slay try in Compostela town, Compostela Valley province on Sunday evening, an official said Monday.
Paul John Dizon, speaking for the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyafa Farms, identified the victim as
Jerry Alicante, 45, a worker of Packing Plant 220, a plantation of Japanese banana firm Sumitomo Fruits Corp. (Sumifru).
Alicante was shot by unidentified gunmen outside his home in Purok 10 Brgy. Osmeña, Compostela, Compostela Valley. He sustained two gunshot wounds after his assailants tried to kill him twice.
Dizon said he has the reason to suspect that Alicante was being hunted by gunmen because of his affiliation to Namafusa, a workers’ union under the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).
Alicante is an active member of the union in Packing plant 220. He is among those workers who joined the strike since last October 1 this year, he added.
“The attacks against our members and to our labor leaders are not new to us. It worsened when the strike started. We have documented different cases of harassments against our union members, and worse, we have been linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines which we strongly deny” said Dizon.
Dizon scored the military and the Sumifru management for linking them to the CPP. A claim he viewed as a “desperate attempt to divert the real issue which is the labor dispute between the Sumifru and the striking workers.”
For Dizon, these continuing attacks to their member are “outright bastardization of their labor and union’s rights” as they collectively assert their rights against the Japan-based banana firm.
The attack against Alicante employed the same pattern used by unknown assailants to kill union members even before the start of the strike, Dizon added.
Apart from Alicante, another union leader Victor Ageas also escaped a slay try after an unidentified motorcycle-riding gunman shot him while he was on his way to a banana plantation in Compostela Province last September 4.
While Danny Boy Bautista, 31, a worker of Packing Plant 340 was shot to death by unidentified assailants on October 31 at about 6:00 pm in Barangay Poblacion, Compostela. Bautista sustained four gunshot wounds that resulted to his sudden death.
“What is now happening to us is clearly a manifestation that the company is desperate enough to resolve our valid demands by keeping us silent and harassing our members to the point of killing us,” Dizon said.(davaotoday.com)