Sidebar: Responses to ILO High-Level Mission

The moderate Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) presented a paper to the ILO team where, among others, it recommended that the guidelines on the conduct of police and military personnel and private security units be strictly applied so as not to “disrupt union activities.” The DOLE had previously defended the police presence in workplaces as just for “peacekeeping.”

Although the TUCP has echoed the DOLE’s calls for separating the “labor-related killings from those not related to labor activities,” it asked the Philippine government to come up with a formal mechanism for consultation and dialogue with trade unions to “address the problem of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and human rights violations.”

Hindrances

As most of the country’s labor groups sounded basically in agreement to the biggest hindrances to organizing more and stronger unions, the denials mostly came from the government, led by the DOLE, and some new labor groups, such as the HRAM (Human Rights for All Movement), which is a “hastily formed group in Cavite,” said Labog of KMU. (Among these hindrances are the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, human-rights violations, disruptive presence of police, military personnel and private security units in workplaces, some legislations and practices such as The Human Security Act of 2007, Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2, contractualization, outsourcing and other so-called “flexible work arrangements.”)

In a news conference while the ILO team was in the Philippines, the Human Rights for All Movement (HRAM) cautioned the team on dealing with KMU, claiming — like former labor secretary Arturo Brion did before an ILO conference in 2007 — that the group would only use the ILO investigation for propaganda against the government.

“It’s interesting to note how HRAM is toeing the line of the military and the government to attack us,” Labog said. “What could be more real than extrajudicial killings and illegal detention of labor leaders, who only stood up to speak up on the grave injustice against workers? We are harassed, arrested, killed — and now vilified once more — for exposing the bloody trail of government-sponsored attacks against workers to the ILO.” (Bulatlat.com)

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