Labor group prods gov’t to probe disappearance of 2 activists

Labor group prods gov’t to probe disappearance of 2 activists

/ 04:22 PM March 26, 2024

PHOTO: Stock photo, blurred image of police cars with lights flashing at night STORY: Labor group prods gov’t to probe disappearance of 2 activists

MANILA, Philippines — Labor group Nagkaisa Labor Coalition has requested for an urgent investigation on the disappearance of two environmentalists and labor activists in Pangasinan on March 24.

Francisco “Eco” Dangla III and Joxielle “Jak” Tiong were reportedly abducted and hauled into a sports utility vehicle at 8 p.m. on Palm Sunday in San Carlos City, according to rights group Karapatan-Central Luzon.


According to a statement from Nagkaisa on Monday, Dangla served as an organizer and regional coordinator for the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in Central Luzon and later in Pangasinan where he has been instrumental in advocating for labor rights.


Dangla and Tiong, it added, champion both labor rights and environmental causes.

Following the pair’s disappearance, the labor group on Tuesday sent a letter addressed to Lucas Bersamin, the Executive Secretary Office of the President, urging the government to probe the incident, which, according to the group, shows a “pattern of violence and intimidation” against trade unionists in the country.

In 2023, trade union leaders Alex Dolorosa and Jude Fernandez were slain, while 68 other activists were killed from 2016 to last year, Nagkaisa noted, citing reports by trade unions in the Philippines.

Nagkaisa Chairperson Sonny Matula, sent a copy of the group’s letter to

“On behalf of the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and in solidarity with the Philippine affiliates of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), we are writing to express our grave concern over the recent abduction of two labor activists, Mr. Francisco ‘Eco’ Dangla and Mr. Joxielle ‘Jak’ Tiong, in Barangay Polo, San Carlos City, Pangasinan, on the night of March 24, 2024,” the first part of the letter read.

“This alarming incident is not an isolated case but part of a disturbing pattern of violence and intimidation against trade unionists, which notably persists despite the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s high-level mission in 2023 aimed at addressing these critical issues,” it continued.


The group likewise hit the alleged “non-performance” of the Presidential Commission on Freedom of Association, which was established under Executive Order 23 in 2023.

“Its significant lack of genuine representation from both workers and employers critically undermines its mission and effectiveness, hampering progress toward ensuring the safety and freedoms of labor activists and the wider labor community in the Philippines,” Nagkaisa’s letter added.

In its letter to Bersamin, Nagkaisa called on the government to:

1. Promptly, thoroughly, and transparently investigate the disappearances of Francisco “Eco” Dangla and Joxielle “Jak” Tiong, to ensure their safe return, and to hold accountable those responsible for their abduction.

2. Take immediate and meaningful steps to improve the functionality and credibility of the Presidential Commission on Freedom of Association, ensuring genuine representation of workers and employers to effectively address and resolve the systemic issues plaguing the labor sector in the Philippines.

“An attack on one trade unionist is an attack on all, and it is our collective resolve to fight against the violence and intimidation plaguing our members and the broader labor movement,” the group continued.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, Dangla and Tiong remain missing.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Karapatan-Central Luzon posted on Facebook that the families of the missing activists have filed an “Inquiry into a Reported Disappeared Person’s Whereabouts” form with the office of the 702nd Infantry Brigade, 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

TAGS: missing activists, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition

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