In Bacolod, BPO workers seek justice for slain union leader
BACOLOD CITY—Rights and workers’ groups on Wednesday called on the government to investigate the killing of a paralegal and labor activist, who was found dead with at least 15 stab wounds in Barangay Alijis here on April 24.
In separate statements, the BPO (business process outsourcing) Industry Employees Network (Bien) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) called Alex Dolorosa’s death “another sign” of the continued lawlessness and rights violations under the Marcos administration.
Dolorosa, a 35-year-old call center agent, went missing on April 21 and his body was discovered three days later in a hut at Purok Villa Rosario in Barangay Alijis here.
Police were looking at robbery as the possible motive in the killing as Dolorosa’s motorcycle, mobile phone and personal belongings were missing.
“We will look into what really happened to the victim,” said Col. Noel Calderon Aliño, acting city police director.
But for Bien, it was “terribly callous” to underestimate the cause of Dolorosa’s death knowing his history of union work and as paralegal for the group.
Bien said Dolorosa was “instrumental” in its chapter-building in Negros Occidental. His death, Bien believes, may be related to his union work as two of the group’s national members are also facing “trumped-up charges” meant to silence them.
“The manner of the murder reflects the state of lawlessness and never-ending culture of impunity in the country,” Bien said. “The murder of Alex only underscores the risk and the government remains blind and deaf to our working conditions.”
Meanwhile, HRW senior researcher Carlos Conde said authorities should “thoroughly investigate” Dolorosa’s murder, especially since four days before his death, the labor organizer had been helping out colleagues with four labor cases in Bacolod City.
Dolorosa, Conde said, was also directly involved in advocacy for labor rights and improvement of wages and working conditions for BPO employees.
“Dolorosa’s work with Bien, and the fact that government authorities have targeted the organization for surveillance and Red-tagging, must be factored into the investigation,” he said.
—CARLA P. GOMEZ AND KRIXIA SUBINGSUBING
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