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Saturday, April 20, 2024

IAC created to probe violence vs workers holds 1st meeting

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The presidential inter-agency committee (IAC) created by Executive Order (EO) No. 23 to look into incidents of trade unionists killings convened for the first time last week and submitted its initial report to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

During the meeting, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said members of the committee were briefed on the recommendations of the ILO-High Level Tripartite Mission (HLTM). 

The HLTM visited the country last January to look into the reported Freedom of Association (FOA) violations, including trade union killings, in the country. 

“Since it was only the first meeting of the committee there was no committee report yet that it will submit to ILO,” Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma told BusinessMirror in a SMS last Friday. 

However, he noted they opted to submit “update on actions taken by the govt in relation to previous report of the ILO involving complaints of violations of Convention 87 (Freedom of Association).”

DOLE issued the statement after labor groups criticized the apparent lack of substantial progress by the Committee, which was created this month. 

Government initiatives

Under its five-page initial report to the ILO, the IAC, which is vice chaired by DOLE, said its first ever meeting happened last 22 May 2023.

The members of the committee agreed to come out with an inventory and facilitated action on pending cases of trade unionists killings and the adoption of a road map in the implementation of the HLTM recommendations.

DOLE also reiterated the government’s initiatives to address FOA violations in the country since it pointed out how the HLTM appears to have “put much reliance on the views” of the group of unions during its visit.   

Among the measures its enumerated is the creation of national and regional mechanisms to monitor compliance with Conventions 87 and 98 (Right to Organize), issuance of operational guidelines of tripartite monitoring bodies, designation of focal persons to facilitate reporting and immediate interventions in cases of violations among others.  

“The Government believes that the HLTM  report should have given due attention to these actions for a fuller and more objective context in appreciating the efforts towards implementing the recommendations,” DOLE said. 

Labor groups, however, said that despite such existing mechanisms to protect labor rights, they were able to register over 500 incidents of labor abuses, including 68 killed labor leaders and organizers, nationwide. 

Without notice 

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) slammed DOLE for its submission of its initial report to ILO without first informing the tripartite partners. 

FFW Vice president Julius Cainglet said they only learned of the said report after they were recently informed by ILO about it.  

“They have a verbal commitment that they will first present it to us (tripartite partners) but they already submitted the report, which of course includes statements that we will not accept,” Cainglet said. 

Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) Director General Jose Roland A. Moya also said they were not furnished with a copy of the said report. 

FFW President Sonny Matula said he will raise the matter during the 111th International Labor Conference from June 5 to 16.   

“Under the  ILO Constitution, the report of the government should be referred to the most representative employers and workers groups,” Matula said. 

Cainglet said the ILO is currently waiting for the comments of the labor and employers on the said initial report of the DOLE before it can react on the matter.

Image credits: AP/Joeal Calupitan

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