Philippine Standard Time:

With the government’s acceptance of the Direct Contact Mission set to visit the country on 6-10 February 2017, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO), conducted a Tripartite Consultation on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining on 16–17 January 2017 in Manila.


The Philippine Government, through the DOLE, officially accepted the Direct Contact Mission on 25 July 2016, as part of the ILO’s technical assistance to assist the country in fulfilling its obligations under ILO Convention No. 87 (Freedom of Association and the Right to Organize).


“In preparation for the Direct Contact Mission, it is but proper for us to evaluate the strategies applied and the results of the initiatives implemented in response to the observations of the 2009 ILO High Level Mission, and identify gaps and lessons learned that would serve as basis in the formulation of future actions that would address the recent recommendations made by the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards,” said Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod in his keynote message.


The Direct Contact Mission is founded on the conclusions adopted by ILO Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) regarding the Philippine application of ILO Convention No. 87 which include allegations of anti-union violence and the lack of progress in the investigation of many such cases, as well as long-standing requests concerning various legislative aspects, especially as regards trade union registration and certain categories of workers excluded from rights accorded by the Convention.


“Admittedly, even though we have achieved substantial progress, much still needs to be done especially on the expeditious investigation, prosecution, and resolution of cases concerning alleged harassment and assassination of labor leaders and trade union activists, where progress is hampered by lack of material witnesses and/or non-cooperation of victims’ families (reliance on witnesses/testimonial evidences) and relatives and our limited capacity on forensic evidence,” Usec. Maglunsod stressed.


Participating in the consultation are forty-six (46) representatives from the labor and employer organizations sitting in the National and Regional Tripartite Monitoring Bodies, from the Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Commission on Human Rights, Civil Service Commission, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Senate and House Committee on Labor and Employment, Supreme Court, and from the International Labour Organization Country Office for the Philippines.


The highlight of the activity is the plenary workshop where the stakeholders evaluated the efforts made in strengthening workers’ rights to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, in order to come up with the lessons learned which would serve as basis in the formulation of future action.


Through the consultation, it is hoped that the tripartite partners would be able to fine tune efforts towards the improved application of ILO Convention Nos. 87 and 98, thereby ensuring the protection and promotion of the rights and interests of workers and employers alike.


END/ Joycelyn Amazona-Lacopia