The Ecumenical Institute of Labor Education and Research (EILER) condemns the brutal murder of Leonardo “Ka Esca” Escala, union president of the port operator International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) last Februrary 7, in Tondo Manila.
Under Escala’s leadership, the union the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Pantalan Incorporated (NMPI)-ICTSI under the National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), fought for labor rights and humane working conditions.
Because of his convictions, he constantly received death threats.
According to reports, Escala was with his 4-year old niece when both of them were shot by two assailants who escaped in a motorcycle. Escala died in the hospital an hour after they arrived, while his niece is still receiving treatment .
According to the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, the number of labor leaders killed under Duterte have already gone up to 51. Adding to that the increasing numbers of harassment, union-busting, and cases of repression.
“The culture of impunity under the Duterte administration has resulted in the increased number of killings of labor leaders, human rights defenders, and ordinary citizens. This has to stop. We seek justice and we also want to hold accountable those that perpetuate this culture of impunity.” said Rochelle Porras, Executive Director of EILER. #