UP IHR co-organizes consultation meeting on safe and decent work in Ecozones
On 17 September 2021, the UP Institute of Human Rights (UP IHR), in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Foundation for Integrative and Development Studies, and the European Union, held the second of a series of consultations with different sectors in preparation for capacity-building and training programs on safe and decent work in Ecozones scheduled for October 2021.
Opening the meeting, Ms. Diane Lynn Respall, Programme Officer of the ILO Country Office in Manila, underscored that tripartite and social dialogue are crucial in upholding international labor standards and social justice. Next, UP IHR Director Professor Elizabeth H. Aguiling-Pangalangan explained the context and objectives of the consultation, among which is to reassess the existing framework, policies and programs applied in Ecozones to make them hew more closely to domestic and international labor norms, standards, and laws.
UP Law Professor Patricia Rosalind P. Salvador-Daway, one of the country’s foremost labor law experts, led the first part of the consultation. She centered on the labor standards in ILO Conventions No. 87 and 98 and counterpart domestic laws and accentuated that though there is a need to balance the conflicting interests of the employers and employees, the Constitution mandates full protection to labor. ILO Labor Law Specialist Jajoon Coue then discussed the developments on freedom of association (FOA) and related standards. In particular, he highlighted observations articulated by the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, an ILO body supervising international labor standards, on allegations of FOA violations in the Ecozones since 2006. UP IHR Consultant Assistant Professor Michael T. Tiu, Jr. proceeded to explain the implications of human rights abuses on businesses, highlighting corporate responsibility to respect human rights. Speaking on behalf of the security sector, PLTCOL Ariel Caramoan of the PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations explained that PEZA and PNP signed an agreement in 2018 to create the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO), now defunct and reorganized as PNP-PEZA Alliance for Industrial Peace and Program Office (AIPPO). His presentation enumerated the PNP’s mandates and activities to ensure peace and order and address industrial crimes in the Ecozones.
Ending the first part of the consultation, Professor Aguiling-Pangalangan facilitated an open forum to give stakeholders the opportunity to ask questions and react to speakers. Union leaders raised grave concerns that the JIPCO or AIPPO interferes in union affairs and inhibits Ecozone workers to join unions in violation of existing laws. In the second part of the consultation, UP IHR Senior Legal Associate Atty. Raymond Marvic C. Baguilat did a pre-training needs assessment, gathering inputs from the participants for the subsequent training workshops. With that, Asst. Prof. Tiu closed the consultation and announced the third Consultation scheduled for 21 September 2021 for enterprises, workers, and government representatives.