THE PHILIPPINE government has vowed to uphold and promote workers’ right to organize and bargain through a newly formed task force on labor rights violations.
“We have made sure that sectoral representation in the tripartite mechanisms is genuine… All newly appointed worker and employer representatives have come from the nominees of our social partner,” Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma said in his speech at the International Labor Conference (ILO) being held in Geneva from June 5 to 16.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on April 30 signed an executive order creating an inter-agency body that will investigate labor rights violations targeting trade unionists.
According to Executive Order (EO) No. 23, the task force on labor rights violations will be chaired by the executive secretary and co-headed by the labor secretary.
Labor groups criticized the measure, saying it lacked participation from workers.
“It also falls short of the spirit of the International Labour Organization (ILO) High-Level Tripartite Mission as the EO 23 was drafted without the participation of workers,” Josua T. Mata, secretary general of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, said in a Viber message last month.
In February, a team of ILO representatives met with trade unions and government officials to discuss human rights violations against workers and union organizers.
That month, trade unions submitted a joint report to the ILO mission on labor rights violations, saying the government has consistently failed to comply with ILO conventions on freedom of association and the right to organize.
“The Philippines has reasserted its commitment to fair, equitable, and people-centered interventions to achieve social justice and address the changing patterns of today’s world of work,” the Department of Labor and Employment said in a statement on Tuesday.
In another labor sector, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development have partnered to provide more affordable housing for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
At a livestreamed partnership signing event, Migrant Workers Secretary Maria Susan V. Ople said the provision of housing options for OFWs is part of the department’s “internal targets.”
“I’m sure all of us want to have our own houses that we can pass down to our family members.”
Last week, the DMW also signed a deal with the Department of Trade and Industry to enhance the government’s program for assisting returning OFWs through upskilling and financial literacy programs. — John Victor D. Ordoñez