The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights in its report assessment of Aquino’s trade union and human rights record said that Aquino has driven workers to fatal and destitute conditions in the last six years.

“Aquino’s legacy to the workers is death and destitution. Workers under Aquino practically die in order to survive living in miserable conditions,” Daisy Arago, Executive Director of the labor group stressed.

The group reported having documented at least 38 cases of occupational accidents that left 228 workers dead. This included the fire in Kentex Manufacturing Inc. in Valenzuela on May 13 last year killing at least 74 people.

“Contractual, low paid, unprotected by unions, and exposed to occupational hazards, these are the conditions of the workers under Aquino,” Arago added.

The group also emphasized that Aquino’s labor programs and policies advanced the neoliberal agenda, thus making labor more flexible to cheaper to attract foreign investors.

“Aquino’s used the law and co-opted some labor groups in order to promote and make legitimate certain policies that advance neoliberal globalization. For example, the DOLE Department Order 18-A, which allows contracting and subcontracting was approved by tripartite councils including labor group that comprise these tripartite councils,” Arago explained.

 Protest action of Hoya workers against illegal closure, 2014 (Photo from PAMANTIK)

Businesses and state agents under Aquino violate labor laws and human rights of workers with impunity the group underscored. At least 726 cases of trade union and human rights violations was documented by the group in since July 2009 to March 2016. Cases of extrajudicial killings of workers and the urban poor persisted with at least 26 victims in the last six  years. There are also at least 88 cases of harassment and threats against 887 unionists and urban poor leaders and another 41 cases  false charges against 293 unionists, workers and urban poor.


The group also observed that workers right to organize was aggressively attacked by companies under Aquino as companies often resorted to retrenchment, downsizing even mergers when workers are found organizing unions or in the middle of collective bargaining negotiations as in the case of Hoya in 2014.  “Even as the number of unionized workers and workers with CBA continue to dwindle, the attack on the right to organize under Aquino continue” Arago said.

CTUHR documented at least 35 cases of retrenchment or closures affecting 14,725 workers and 44 cases of union busting affecting 11,716 workers.

“Clearly, Aquino’s promise of inclusive growth to the workers did not happen. Workers continue to live and die in misery. It is a challenge to the next leaders to pave a new path, where workers can freely exercise their rights at the same time live with dignity,” Arago said.###