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Rolling out for the month of August is a series of capacity-building seminars for all stakeholders on the Guidelines on the Conduct of the DOLE, DILG, DND, DOJ, AFP and PNP Relative to the Workers’ Rights and Activities (AFP Guidelines, for brevity). Signed on 07 May 2012, the AFP Guidelines is an important instrument which prescribes the conduct of the military and other relevant stakeholders in case a labor dispute arises to prevent undermining the exercise of workers’ rights.

Marking the four-leg area-wide seminar facilitated by this Department, in coordination with the International Labour Organization (ILO) were two (2) batches of advocacy-workshops in Luzon, with Batch 1 (Regions 4A, 4B, 5 and NCR) on 08 August 2013 at the Century Park Hotel, Malate, Manila, and Batch 2 (Regions 1, 2, 3 and CAR) on 13 August 2013 in Subic Bay Venezia Hotel, Subic. Two (2) more seminars shall follow in Cebu and Davao on August 19 and 23, respectively.

Approximately 80 participants each from the DOLE, Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Councils (RTIPCs), Regional Tripartite Monitoring Bodies (RTMBs), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Justice (DOJ), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) attended the seminars.

On behalf of the DOLE Secretary, ARD Benjo Santos Benavidez of DOLE NCR and OIC Director Romeo Montefalco of the Bureau of Labor Relations, delivered the keynote message, in Batch 1 and Batch 2, respectively. The message of the Secretary emphasized the primary objective of the previous and ongoing area-wide capacity-building seminars which is to imbibe the roles, functions and mechanisms that need to be observed by the tripartite stakeholders under their respective functional responsibilities during the exercise of workers’ rights and activities.

In her message, the Secretary is “proud to report that our previous collaborative efforts and strict implementation of the Guidelines [founded on the principles of tripartism and social dialogue], combined with our continuous capacity-building ventures, have resulted in very positive developments in recent cases of labor disputes.”

Further gracing the event were resource speakers from ILO, DOLE-NCR, NCMB, AFP and PNP. Ms. Diane Lynn Respall of ILO-Manila presented an overview of the ILO and International Labour Standards (ILS) System. She emphasized the role of ILO in supporting a country to meet its ILS goals through moral suasion and ongoing dialogues.

Atty. Marion Sevilla of DOLE-NCR and Ms. Maylyn Gozun of DOLE RO 3 gave an introduction to ILO Convention 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948) and ILO Convention 98 (Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949), which guarantee the rights or workers to freedom of association, self-organization and collective bargaining, and which the Philippines has significantly ratified.

Likewise, presenting on the roles of DOLE, AFP and PNP relative to the AFP Guidelines were OIC Dir. Amorsolo Aglibut of RCMB-NCR, CPT Eduardo Esquivias of AFP, and PCI Clarence Gumayec of PNP, for Batch 1 and OIC Dir. Maria Cristina Mangaliman of NCMB-RB III, CPT Eduardo Esquivias of AFP and P/SUPT Sarah Abad of PNP-ROPD-PRO3 for Batch 2.

Subsequent to the presentations and forming an integral part of the activity is the workshop where the participants simulated the convention of the Regional Inter-Agency Coordinating and Monitoring Committee (RICMC) in response to a scenario based on actual labor cases.

Local-based Manifesto of Commitment were also forged in Regions 1, 2, 3 and CAR, which aimed to generate three (3) areas of action: a) ensure continuous representation and active participation in the RICMC; b) maintain open line of communication to facilitate sharing of information in the monitoring of potential or alleged cases of violation of workers and trade union rights; and c) sustain and conduct joint orientations in the national, regional and provincial level, together with other relevant partners, to raise the awareness of all government and non-government sectors.

To mark the end of the activity, OIC-Dir. Romeo Montefalco, Jr. presented the way forward centering on cascading of the Case Profiling and Monitoring Forms which were formulated to serve as guide to the RTMBs and RICMCs in the observance of the PNP and AFP Guidelines; and the conduct of similar capacity-building seminars for DOLE Labor Law Compliance Officers and law students of selected universities.

Atty. Montefalco called on all stakeholders to continue in fulfilling their respective commitments to uphold workers’ rights enshrined in ILO Conventions 87 and 98 and embodied in the AFP Guidelines.