By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III is throwing his hat at the Tripartite High-Level Meeting on International Labor Organization (Convention) No. 87 to get rid of existing conflicts between the state, the employers, and the ordinary workers.
In his opening statement during the above-mentioned activity yesterday (September 6), Bello admitted that despite ratifying ILO Convention No. 87 and Convention No. 98 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining on 29th of December 1953, the Philippines is still challenged with alleged cases of harassment and killing of labor leaders and trade union activists.
Progress of these cases was hampered by lack of material witnesses and/or non-cooperation of victims’ families.
“We hope that through this meeting, impediments to the total recognition of the rights of workers to organize, associate, and collectively bargain will be eliminated, and usher in improvements in the working conditions of the Filipino workingman,” Bello said.
At the same time, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reaffirmed its commitment to recognize and protect the rights of workers and employers to form and join organizations of their own choosing to effectively negotiate work relations.
Bello said that the Philippines, as a ratifying member of ILO Convention Nos. 87 and 98, recognizes that freedom of association and collective bargaining are among the fundamental principles of the ILO.
Furthermore, he added, the Philippines also acknowledges the obligation to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Conventions.
“The Philippines fully recognizes the importance of protecting the welfare and rights of Filipino workers,” he said.
During the 108th Session of the International Labor Conference in June 2019, the Philippines underwent deliberation under the Committee on the Application of Standards on account of deficiencies regarding expeditious investigation, prosecution, and resolution of cases on harassment and killing of labor leaders and trade union activists.
But the Philippine government, through its Labor department, is keen to make things better for the Filipino working class.
“The Philippine government hopes that with this virtual exchange, the application of the Philippines of ILO Convention No. 87 is fulfilled, and its principle achieved. The Department of Labor and Employment acknowledges this opportunity to improve its framework and system in providing justice to victims of anti-union violence, harassment, and all forms of infringement of trade union rights,” Bello pointed out.
The Labor chief hopes the activity yields fruitful results particularly in addressing the gaps so that the government can improve and strengthen ties and partnerships towards the effective application of the ratified ILO conventions.(ai/mtvn)