AN INTERNATIONAL labor coalition is calling on Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III to investigate the death of a local labor leader, the 43rd such case since President Rodrigo R. Duterte assumed office in June 2016. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Secretary General Sharon Burrow, in an open letter, said Mr. Bello should consider probing the killings that target labor organizers and union leaders. Partido Mangagawa labor organizer Leonides “Dennis” Sequeña was shot and killed last June 2 in Cavite. “We deplore the ongoing violence and assassinations targeting labour and human rights defenders in the Philippines. Extrajudicial killings must be stopped and the environment of impunity must come to an end. It is the responsibility of the government of the Philippines to ensure that the lives and personal security of workers and activists must be guaranteed and that they are able to exercise their basic rights without threats and fear,” she said in the letter dated June 5. Citing data from the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, ITUC said the 43 cases are on top of others filed before the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC), a DoLE attached agency, during previous administrations that remain pending. Partido Manggagawa Chair Renato B. Magtubo said in a statement on Monday, “We demand action from Secretary Bello to stop the series of extra-judicial killings of labor activists and trade unionists. As Labor Secretary, he must raise a voice against these killings. And we ask him to immediately convene the National Tripartite Monitoring Body (NTMB) which has the mandate to probe labor-related EJK’s.” — Gillian M. Cortez