ILO urges PH gov't to investigate killings, assaults against trade unionists

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2022 11:34 AM

Human rights advocates hold a protest at the Liwasang Diokno Freedom Park on Mar. 10, 2021 to condemn the synchronized police operations in the Southern Tagalog region that resulted in the death of 9 activists and the arrest of 6 members of different people’s organizations. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News
Human rights advocates hold a protest at the Liwasang Diokno Freedom Park on Mar. 10, 2021 to condemn the synchronized police operations in the Southern Tagalog region that resulted in the death of 9 activists and the arrest of 6 members of different people’s organizations. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The International Labor Organization has expressed "deep concern" over new grave allegations of violence and intimidation against trade unionists in the Philippines.

In a report released Thursday, the United Nations agency called on the Philippine government to probe allegations of extrajudicial killings and assaults against workers.

"In these circumstances, given the extreme seriousness of the allegations and their repeated nature, the committee urges the government to take all necessary measures to address the issues of violence and intimidation raised and, in particular, to conduct prompt and effective investigations into all allegations of extrajudicial killings of and assaults against trade unionists, so as to determine the circumstances of the incidents, including any links to trade union activities, determine culpability and punish the perpetrators," the ILO said.

Among the grave allegations raised were the extrajudicial killing of 10 trade unionists, and 17 cases of arrests and detention following police dispersal of a protest and police raids on union offices and unionists’ homes, the agency said.

The ILO also said there were 17 cases of red-tagging, intimidation and harassment, including against leaders and members of the ACT (Alliance of Concerned Teachers), the Kilusang Mayo Uno, the Philippines National Police Non-Uniformed Personnel Association Inc. and other workers’ organizations.

Other incidents the group raised were 12 cases of forced disaffiliation campaigns and seminars, including for public school teachers, workers at a beverage producing company and palm oil plantation workers.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee of experts on the application of conventions and recommendations said the high-level tripartite mission had not yet taken place but that, in view of the Philippine government’s request for guidance, a virtual exchange was organized by ILO in September 2021.

The committee also welcomed the initiative and requests the Philippine government to provide information on the progress made in the adoption of Senate Bill No. 2121, which seeks to fix legal gaps and institutionalize a system of accountability by criminalizing red-tagging and providing penalties as deterrence thereto.

"It expects that the grave allegations of violence and intimidation referred will be duly investigated and perpetrators punished to effectively prevent and combat impunity and requests the government to provide updated information in this respect," the ILO said.

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