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KMU asks 48th IB: Surface labor leader

A LABOR group accused the 48th Infantry Battalion’s (48th IB) of being actively involved in the disappearance of William Lariosa on April 10.

Lariosa, 63, reportedly a trade union organizer of the labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno- Southern Mindanao Region (KMU-SMR), was allegedly nabbed by elements of the 48th IB in Barangay Butong, Quezon town, Bukidnon.

Socrates Luayon, KMU-SMR council member, said their fact-finding team went to the area on April 11 and confirmed the information from their sources on the ground.

Luayon told the media on April 17 that they sought the assistance of the Barangay Butong chairman who was occupied at that time. They then asked the villagers and were told to check the funeral parlor if her remains were there but the trip proved negative. 

The team went to the Quezon Police Station but there were no records of the disappearance. 

“We found out according to the statements in the barangay there were forces they called the composite team that conducted an operation, meaning not a sanction of 48th IB,“ he said.

Magduda man ta anang dili sanction sa 48th IB, kay basically kung ikaw na-assign anang lugara, imo man nang jurisdiction,” Luayon added.

The team proceeded to the 48th IB headquarters along with a barangay councilor but they were denied entry. A soldier told them to wait outside but never returned.

Luayon said they waited outside for about two hours. “Pero usa to sa naghatag namo og hope tungod kay wala nibalik adunay dakong posibilidad nga si Lariosa naa pa sa ilahang poder ug buhi pa,” he said.

KMU-SMR chairman Romelito Pablo said Lariosa’s disappearance is an attack against the rights of workers in Mindanao and the country. 

“It is a serious attack on the workers’ freedom of association and protection of the right to organize as stipulated in the International Labor Organization Convention 87 and other labor standards, and violates Article 8(b) of the International Convention of Social and Economic Rights on the freedom to form trade unions without undue restrictions and government interference,” Pablo said.

KMU-SMR said Lariosa has been organizing sugarcane and pineapple workers in Bukidnon since 2021.

The labor group stressed Lariosa was among the victims who became targets of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the nation’s approach to ending the insurgency.

Pablo recalled that Paul John Dizon and Leoncio Rabaca, also KMU-SMR members reported they were under surveillance and experienced harassment and intimidation by NTF-ELCAC last 2023.

Lariosa’s wife, Roselie, also shared two individuals, the other one identifying to be a former workmate of William and the other an NTF-ELCAC member, who visited their residence in Inambatan, Monkayo town, Davao de Oro, on June 2022 calling for William to surrender to the authorities and supposedly clear his name. They came again on October 19, 2023, with a similar intention. 

On Nov. 22, 2023, two individuals came, this time the former workmate was absent and asked for William’s number. The next day, the two came again to ask for William’s occupation,  address, and the details of their children’s school.

Roselie said they filed a blotter in the barangay on November 28 as they were worried for their safety and security after being intimidated and threatened.

Wala ko kabalo unsay dapat i-surrender sa akong bana kay pagkabalo nako labor organizer siya, mismo kadtong ning-adto sa balay, giingnan mi nga kada lakaw namo pasundan mi,” she said.   

Roselie shared that William’s last text message to their child was an hour before he was reported missing on April 10.

Unta buhi lang siya hangtod karon, kung unsa man iyang sitwasyon karon, ipakita lang sa amoa unta, og kasohan man nila, kasohan pero in due process, kung patay napud wala mi mahimo, akoa lang ihatag nila sa amoa,” Roselie said.

Lariosa’s family members have filed for a Writ of Habeas Corpus at the Regional Trial Court in Malaybalay City on April 16. 

RTC presiding judge Wilfredo Bibera Jr. ordered the respondent, Lt. Col. Gilbert Gomez, 48th ID to produce the body of William Lariosa on April 18, 8:30 in the morning. 


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