ILC CAS conclusions proof of government’s TU-HR violations, PH workers demand accountability 

The recent conclusions of the Committee on the Application of Standards of the ILC are another proof of the dire state of trade union and human rights in the Philippines. It is a reinforcement of our longstanding assertion that our rights to freedom of association have been and are still being violated.

One recommendation of the ILC CAS is for the government to “put an immediate end to any violation of freedom of association.” This exposed the continuing and systematic attacks on workers’ rights in the Philippines, and the government’s inaction on the recommendations of the ILO High Level Tripartite Mission to the Philippines in 2023 or any meaningful steps to address the violations of workers’ rights for that matter.

The ILC CAS also recommended that the government “take measures to ensure the effective prevention of any violence perpetuated in connection with the exercise of workers’ and employers’ organizations legitimate activities” which highlights that existing government policies are either lacking or directly violative of workers’ rights such as the EO70 and the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The ILC CAS also forwards that the Ph government “ensure that the Anti-Terrorism Act is not implemented so as to restrict legitimate union activities and related civil liberties.” We urge the ILO, and other similar bodies to take a closer look at the Philippines as the ATA, a part of the Marcos Jr. regime’s anti-insurgency plan, has already been used to attack workers’ rights advocates and unionists. This witch hunt has even developed newer tactics beyond terrorist designation, and has recently used “terrorist financing” to deliberately link unionism with insurgency, and malign support from pro-worker institutions.

We are one with the ILC in forwarding that House Bills 1152 and 4941, both aimed at criminalizing red-tagging, be immediately passed. More bills must be passed towards full respect and protection of workers’ rights to organize and to freedom of association, such as House Bill 407 which seeks to shield workers’ organizations and unions from interference, and House Bill 9430 or the Union Formation Act which eases regulations on workers who seek to organize their unions.

Beyond these legislative recommendations, workers also demand the immediate abolition of the NTF-ELCAC and the Anti-Terror Act – both serving key roles in the continuing attacks against workers under the Marcos Jr. administration. The continuing existence of both threatens more violations of workers’ rights. 

With the international community behind us, we enjoin more Filipino workers in demanding accountability from the Marcos Jr. government for these attacks. We demand that the Marcos Jr. regime address all unresolved cases of killings, abductions, and workers’ rights violations and that all perpetrators of these crimes be brought to justice. With the worsening state of wages and work in our country, we must exert all efforts to defend our organizations and unions which allow us to fight for living wages, better working conditions, and regular and secure jobs within and beyond our workplaces.