Philippine Standard Time:

Representatives from the labor, employers, military, police and other government agencies such as DILG, DND and CHR, converged in a two-day capacity-building seminar for the Regional Tripartite Monitoring Bodies (RTMB) of selected regions on 19-20 May 2014 at the Hotel Kimberly, Tagaytay City.

“The ILO Country Office in Manila welcomes the conduct of this two-day capacity-building seminar and workshop for the RTMBs in areas where labor relations is captive”, Diane Respall of ILO-Manila said in her keynote message.

The activity which was conducted by DOLE in coordination with the International Labour Organization (ILO) is an offshoot of the High Level Mission in 2009 under which the Technical Cooperation Program on training and capacity-b

uilding has been identified as an area for future action on ILO Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association to strengthen labor market governance.

Atty. Benjo Santos Benavidez, Bureau of Labor Relations, emphasized in his message the significance of continuous collaboration among all key stakeholders in the promotion and protection of workers’ rights to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.  “We have gone a long way. Actually, we are progressing substantially. But we need to complete it. To do this, we need to continue our cooperation and engagement”, said Benavidez.

Approximately 60 sectoral participants from LR-heavy regions particularly the NCR, Regions 3, 4A, 6, 7 and 11, attended the said activity which oriented tripartite partners on effective case profiling, monitoring, documentation, reporting and resolution of labor-related cases of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations, in correlation to the principles of Freedom of Association, ILO supervisory bodies, and various human rights programs.

“The RTMBs are mandated to play a crucial role in verifying allegations of trade union rights violations, as well as, in coordinating with other relevant government agencies to ensure speedy and impartial delivery of justice in labor-related cases of extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances, and other human rights violations”, Respall said.

Adjacent to its purpose, the undertaking also served as a venue for further improvement of the draft Operational Guidelines of the RTMBs on the gathering of evidence, referral and monitoring of cases. DOLE and ILO conducted a workshop where the sectoral representatives were grouped by region and were asked to identify gaps and possible solutions to the regional implementation of their respective RTMBs.

In 2011, a similar activity was conducted for RTMB Secretariats capacitating them in the application of International Labour Standards and Freedom of Association principles in case profiling, and leading to the formulation of the first draft of the RTMB Operational Guidelines.

DOLE and ILO however saw the need to ensure that workers and employers representatives also have a full grasp of these principles as they evaluate cases and make recommendations to the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council – Monitoring Body (NTIPC-MB).

“Because of the uniqueness of the right to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, it is crucial that other government bodies involved in the speed and impartial delivery of justice in cases of EJK, enforced disappearances and other labor-related cases of human rights violations, are oriented on what are these unique set of rights accorded to both workers and employers”, Respall said.

RTMBs were created in all Regional TIPCs pursuant to DOLE Administrative Order No. 263, series of 2011, to serve as the local counterparts of the NTIPC-MB tasked to verify and document allegations of threats, intimidation and harassments of trade unionists in the region; conduct monitoring and evaluation of complaints; gather relevant information from regional authorities and/or Courts, including comments from the social partners; and prepare case profiles to be submitted to the NTIPC-MB, as necessary.