Duterte administration, worst and harshest to workers’ rights- CTUHR

June 17, 2018

12 June 2018
Daisy Arago
CTUHR Executive Director
Tel # 0916248 4876 / 4110256

Duterte administration, worst and harshest to workers’ rights- CTUHR

Labor rights NGO Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) affirms the recent report of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) which ranked the Philippines as among the 10 worst countries for workers’ rights.

The ITUC Global Rights Index 2018 report re-validates CTUHR own findings that the Duterte administration is no different from the previous governments or even worse in its attacks against the rights of Filipino workers,” says Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director.

The ITUC Global Rights Index 2018 ranked 142 countries based on 97 internationally recognized indicators where workers’ rights are best protected in law and in practice.

CTUHR added that the consistent low ranking of the country in Global Rights Index reflects the continual structural failure of Philippine government to stem the deteriorating state of human rights of the Filipino people. Moreso, under the anti-worker and tyrannical rule of President Duterte that’s apparently fuelling the so-called economic growth for a handful few families and corporations.

Two years in power of the Duterte administration and CTUHR has recorded 29 victims of extrajudicial killings in the labor sector, more than twice the 12 victims of extrajudicial killings among workers and urban poor documented during the first two years of his predecessor. Duterte’s propensity of labelling progressive groups and critics including Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) as “communist fronts” simultaneous to declaring Martial law in Mindanao have pushed the number of cases of civil and political rights violations committed against workers upward. From June 2016 to March 2018, CTUHR documentation points to 133 of these cases victimizing 3,345 individuals. These are spread to 809 victims of red-tagging, 358 victims of threat, harassments and intimidation and 98 victims of arbitrary arrest and detention resulting from filing trumped up criminal charges.

On June 2, Juan Alexander Reyes, a leader of Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Quezon City (Association of Workers in Quezon City) and an active convenor of Defend Job Philippines was abducted in Quezon City and was later found detained in Camp Crame. He was charged with Arson murder that supposedly happened in Agusan del Sur and illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Prior to his arrest, Reyes facilitated a “strike voting” of Pearl Island Commercial Corporation’s workers. CTUHR calls this tactics as simply ridiculous and plain harassments aimed at warning labour rights defenders to stop their advocacies.

When workers continue to assert their right and defy the repressive condition at the shop floor, these, too, are met with violence. CTUHR also noted that complaints over non-recognition of union, union busting, and discrimination against unionists in the workplace and non-implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and other CBA-related issues also spike.

The Duterte administration cannot pacify the seething anger of Filipino workers over his failed promises of ending contractualization. On the contrary, the EO 51 that the President signed which changes nothing on pervasive practice of contractual labour only fanned the trade unions’ fury instead of dousing it. Amidst the harsh impact of TRAIN Law, such anger is becoming more pronounced and addressing it by force smacks Mr. Duterte’s pronouncement about pursuing peace,” Arago said. “By making the poor poorer with legislations and practices parallel with harassing or even killing those who resist, the administration itself is spoiling peace.”

CTUHR calls on Duterte administration to certify as priority pending legislations in Congress such as National Minimum Wage Bill, Regular Employment Bill and Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act to provide some relief to the country’s more than 40 million workforce. In doing so, the administration can help control the country’s presence to the 10 worst countries for workers’ rights.#