ILO Philippines mission will confirm union rights violations

PRESS STATEMENT

JANUARY 25, 2023

Together with the unions and organizations of Filipino workers in the Philippines, Migrante-International, the alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and all overseas Filipinos, welcome the International Labor Organization’s High-Level Tripartite Mission (ILO-HLTM) to the Philippines to investigate violations of workers’ trade-union rights enshrined in ILO Convention 87.

Violations of trade-union and other labor rights in the Philippines are severe and deserve the ILO’s investigation and actions. Former president Rodrigo Duterte (2016-2022) reneged on his electoral promise to end contractualization, which means precarious working conditions, short-term contracts and violations of trade-union rights. What he fulfilled was his electoral promise of killing unionists who would seek to organize workers. 

As an organization of migrant Filipinos, we condemn the Philippine government not only for refusing to stand up for overseas Filipinos’ rights to form unions and organizations in many migrant-sending countries. We also condemn it for attacking migrant Filipinos’ efforts to unite in order to claim their labor and migrant rights. The Philippine government attacks on the right to unionize are well-known in the country and deserve to be investigated and condemned by international bodies such as the ILO.

Migrante-International has submitted the following incidents to the “Joint Report of Trade Unions to the ILO-HLTM 2023”: 
(1) Extra-judicial killing of Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia, a former OFW, migrant organizer and Migrante-Philippines regional coordinator, in 2020.
(2) Harassment and intimidation of Ramon Bultron, long-time migrant activist and Migrante-International deputy secretary-general, in 2019-2020.
(3) Harassment of leaders of the Samahan ng mga Manininda sa Bagong 

Silang (SAMABASI), an organization of migrant families, in 2020.
(4) Harassment of Criselda Pacis Fiel, deputy secretary-general and Isabela provincial chairperson of Migrante-Philippines, and Cita Managuelod, Migrante-Philippines national council member, in 2022.

We call on the ILO-HLTM to reflect Filipino workers’ demands with regard to protecting their rights to unionize:  
(1) Probe the killings of unionists and labor activists and hold the murderers, mostly State agents, accountable.
(2) Junk trumped-up charges against unionists and labor activists behind bars. 
(3) Junk contractualization, amend the Labor Code of 1974.
(4) Junk the repressive Anti-Terrorism Law and abolish the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or NTF-ELCAC.
(5) Implement significant wage increases and a national minimum wage.
(6) Generate decent jobs in the Philippines, end Labor Export Program. ###