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Friday, May 01, 2009

Chiz hits government record on trade union rights

The Philippines ranks as the second most dangerous country for trade unionists, and opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero said the government's continued indifference to the problem may push the numbers to rise.


"A climate of fear and intimidation still pervades the labor sector. Workers not only worry about job security, they have to deal with the issue of personal security as well," Escudero said.


The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) reported that the Philippines now ranks second in the list of countries where violations of trade union rights are prevalent.


A survey conducted by the Independent Centre for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) for the ITUC showed that in 2007, 33 labor leaders in the Philippines were killed.


In the same survey, 220 individuals were affected in 130 incidents of trade union rights violations recorded.


Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, has already filed Senate Bill 1437 which seeks to grant prosecutorial powers to the Commission on Human Rights and establish its own witness protection program.


"The sad fact is that in the Philippines, the rights of labor groups continue to be abused by the government. These abuses range from acts to undermine the right to strike to outright discouragement of trade union activities, especially in export processing zones," Escudero said.


He also noted that in many instances cited by the ITUC and validated by UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston, the use of intimidation and extrajudicial or arbitrary executions targeting trade unionists has been employed.


"We demand that this government immediately address the situation by serving justice without delay," Escudero said.


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