Dear President Biden,
We respectfully object to improved ties with Ferdinand Marcos Jr., President of the Philippines, without demonstrated Philippine government commitments to uphold international labor standards. Hosting Marcos Jr. on this International Workers Day is unacceptable, especially for a White House that aspires to be the most pro-union in history.
Marcos’ presidency is a regime of corruption, state-sponsored terrorism, and nostalgia for martial-law dictatorship. While workers in the Philippines suffer hardships of extreme inflation, poverty wages, and a lack of good jobs, they further suffer at the hands of their government which contributes to deepened attacks on unions and organizing. Labor organizers face illegal arrest, torture, being labeled as terrorists, and death for attempting to secure improved conditions for workers.
In January, labor organizers Armand Dayoha and April Dyan Gumanao were abducted and subjected to five days of psychological torture and interrogation. On April 24, worker advocate Alex Dolorosa was found stabbed to death in Bacolod City, where he was an official with the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN), an association of call center workers contracted by transnational tech, finance, communications, and other corporations. Unfortunately, these horrific attacks are frequent and the responsible parties are rarely held to account.