Attacks on Workers Persist as ILO Keeps Mum on Arroyo’s Accountability in Abuses

“The remaining 1.9 million Filipino workers organized in unions continue to decrease as more workers who plan to join unions are automatically being dismissed,” Roger Soluta lamented as he represented the KMU in a three-day national conference of labor groups, employers and government, sponsored by the ILO, in Manila last week.

Arroyo Government’s Liability Over Rights Violations

At the tripartite national conference called by ILO and DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment), the KMU warned that “if the Arroyo regime continues with its anti-labor and anti-people policies, the ILO body might become a dumping ground of reports of labor rights repression cases.”

ILO representatives including Karen Curtis, deputy director of ILO’s International Labor Standards Department and one of the three members of the ILO High-Level Mission who went to the Philippines last September to investigate cases of trade union rights violations, was in the Philippines again last week for a national tripartite conference.

The ILO is drafting a three to five-year proposed technical cooperation program with the Philippine government using inputs such as those that arose from last week’s tripartite conference. A direct offshoot of the high-level mission, the proposed technical cooperation program, is mainly about awareness-raising, training and capacity building for government, workers and employers.

KMU urged the ILO to categorically hold the Arroyo administration and the institutions under it “liable for the continuing attacks against the trade union movement.” Soluta said “workshops, technical cooperation programs and conferences” such as the one held last week “will eventually come to naught if criminals liable for the labor rights violations remain scot-free.” (

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