The Assassination of Rolando Olalia

Rolando Olalia of the Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center

Rolando Olalia of the Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center

Kim Scripes writes about the assassination in 1986 of KMU chairperson Rolando Olalia:

There was a mass outpouring of grief among Filipino workers and peasants in response to “Ka Lando’s” assassination.  Twenty-five thousand people spontaneously protested outside the military headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.  But the biggest show of respect was the 12-hour funeral march that drew close to one million people.  (Scripes, 47)

After the killing of Olalia and the deaths of other workers rights activists and KMU union women and men the KMU began to actively campaign against the right-wing Aquino government.  Scripes quoted then newly elected Chairperson Crispin “Ka Bell” Beltran as saying:

UP to that time, KMU was totally for the preservation and protection of the Aquino government; we can say, without any fear of contradiction, that Lando Olalia was sacrificed for this government.  Evidence is now cropping up [that] he was targeted to create chaos, especially among the workers’ ranks.  The anger [of] the workers against the government [was supposed to] create a revolutionary situation and then the military would have this as a pretext to crush the workers’ movement and establish a civilian-military junta.  The over-all game was to move the Aquino government as a whole towards the right.  And under the complete control of United States imperialism.

After this incident…we adopted an oppositionist stance [to] the policies of the Aquino government.  (50)


Scripes, Kim.  KMU; Building Genuine Trade Unionism in the Philippines, 1980-1994.  Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers, 1996.

The funeral march of Rolando Olalia.

The funeral march of Rolando Olalia.

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