The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition highlights that the Philippines is included in the long list of ILO Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) due to 69 reported killings of trade union leaders and organizers, and about 400 other violations of Convention 87.
Nagkaisa holds that the lack of representation from workers and employers in the current Executive Order 23 (EO23) signed by President Bongbong Marcos also contributed to the Philippines' inclusion in the list.
While it is a positive step forward, the current EO23 fails to address the significant problem that workers face in exercising their freedom to form unions or associations. To address this issue, the coalition proposes its amendments to transform it into a tripartite commission, consisting of representatives from the government and representatives from workers and employers groups in accordance with the principle of "tripartism and social dialogue" of ILO Convention 144 and the principles of "shared responsibility" and "participation in decision-making' under the Constitution and the Labor Code . This body would serve as the primary mechanism for addressing worker issues and seeking justice for the countless victims of violations of Freedom of Association (FOA) and Trade Union (TU) rights.
Trade unions heard Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma on his call to proposed solutions or positive actions. Thus, Nagkaisa urgges him to schedule a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for trade union leaders to present personally the proposed amendments to the EO and other suggestions in order to improve the situation of workers and hold those accountable for violations of FOA and TU rights.
The coalition emphasizes that unless the government takes substantial steps to demonstrate its intention to heed the recommendations of the ILO High-Level Tripartite Mission (HLTM) beyond the issuance of EO23, the country will undoubtedly face scrutiny by the ILO.
It is time for the government to act and demonstrate its dedication to upholding the principles of decent work and social justice for all.