CEBU, Philippines – An organizer of the Partido Manggagawa-Cebu Chapter was killed in an alleged ambush in Barangay Maghaway, Talisay City, Cebu on Saturday.
Orlando Abangan, 35, an organizer and community leader of PM-Cebu was shot and killed by a still unidentified assailant.
Abangan was driving a motorcycle on his way home in Sitio Lawis, Barangay Maghaway around 7 a.m. when the assailant, who reportedly appeared to be waiting for him to pass by, shot him repeatedly, said PO3 Junyl Ater of Talisay City Police Station.
Abangan, who was hit on the different parts of his body, was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
At least five empty shells of a cal. 9mm pistol and three fragmented metal jackets were recovered from the crime scene, said Ater.
PM-Cebu is calling on concerned government agencies to conduct a swift but thorough investigation into the killing of Abangan.
The group likewise appealed to all human rights group in the region to conduct their independent probe of the incident.
“His killing creates a chilling effect to all defenders of labor and human rights. We cannot be cowed by this kind of violence but we cannot also take this incident lightly in the face of mass murders committed every day under the government’s ongoing war on drugs,” PM-Cebu spokesman Dennis Derige said in a statement.
Abangan was a full-time organizer of PM in the province of Cebu since 2001.
During the last election, he built an organization of persons with disabilities in Talisay that campaigned for social protection and social services for their sector.
Recently, he was engaged as informal sector organizer of the labor center Sentro.
“Ka Lando (Abangan) was a very smart, dedicated and disciplined leader and organizer as he can combine trade union work and community organizing. Organizing was his daily life and trade union leaders in Cebu knew him as such, thus, dismissing all the possibility that he was into drugs or other criminal activities,” said Derige.
The group is digging into some information that may point to the motive behind Abangan’s killing.
Abangan is survived by his wife and two children.
Meanwhile, in condemning the killing of its local leader, PM’s national office also assails the reigning culture of impunity that has resulted to the spate of murders everywhere.
“Labor rights and human rights are an indivisible whole. Impunity rules when State leaders compromise the citizens’ right to life in pursuit of another objective,” said PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza in the same statement.
PM is a member of the coalition In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend) which advocates that human rights and due process cannot be sacrificed in government’s ongoing war against drugs and criminality.
PM is joining iDefend and other human rights groups in a rally in Manila on Wednesday, September 21, on the anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
Justice for Abangan will be one of the labor demands of the forthcoming protest. (FREEMAN)