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Labor group denounces killing of two rebel returnees in Cotabato City

LABOR group Federation of Free Workers (FFW) has condemned an indiscriminate attack in a village in Cotabato City that led to the deaths of two former members of the Moro National Liberation Front and left five others wounded, including farm workers.

In a statement on Thursday, the labor group urged local police to probe the incident and track the armed men who fired at the community in the Philippines’ south last week.

“The leaders of both the national and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governments should exert extra effort to protect, as well as extend assistance to the victims and their families,” Arlene D. Gollosos, board member of the FFW, was quoted in the statement.

FFW President Jose “Sonny” G. Matula said that ordinary farm workers and farmers were among those hurt during the attack.

“FFW is in solidarity with our Muslim brethren who were extra-judicially killed though not necessarily involving labor dispute,” he told BusinessWorld in a Viber message.

The incident took place less than a week before the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) High-Level Tripartite Mission to the Philippines to look into killings of trade unionists and other violations of worker’s rights.

Labor groups are set to meet with a team of ILO officials on Jan. 23 to discuss recent cases of harassment and violence against those in the labor sector.

ILO Bureau of Worker’s Activities Director Maria Helena Andr? has said the Philippine government should uphold the rule of law since rights violations would deter investments and economic activity. — John Victor D. Ordo?ez

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