PH listing as one of the worst countries for workers is Duterte’s Legacy

The Philippines is again among the worst countries for laborers, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said in a report. The 2021 Global Rights Index highlights that there is "no guarantee" of workers’ rights in the country. File photo by Mayday Multimedia.
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Citing the ITUC Global Rights Index 2021, a labor NGO laments that the country’s labor rights situation worsened under the Duterte administration.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research emphasized that the Philippines has been listed as second-worst worldwide for environmental and land rights defenders, and the deadliest country for journalists.

“The key issues mentioned by the ITUC Report through the years included extra-judicial killings, red-tagging and union-busting. These have been more prominent with the government agency NTF-ELCAC harassing and forcing workers to disaffiliate from progressive unions and federations,” said EILER Executive-Director Rochelle Porras.

Besides the cases highlighted by the ITUC, other prominent cases of labor and trade union rights violations include the murders of union leader Dandy Miguel, president of Fuji Electric Company union under Kilusang Mayo Uno, and the murder of labor organizer Manny Asuncion in March 2021.

“With Duterte nearing the end of his term, the president is leaving behind a legacy marked with economic crisis, trade union repression, joblessness and worsened working conditions for the Filipino workers,” said Porras.
 
EILER noted that only 6.3% of establishments with 20 or more workers have unions, and only 353,000 out of 5.06 million total paid employees are unionized (PSA 2018). Then there are also the contractual and informal workers which comprise the majority of the labor force and are more prone to precarious working conditions.

“The workers and trade unions play a vital role in economic recovery and resiliency, but their fundamental freedoms including freedom of association, right to organize, right to collectively bargain and the right to strike are under attack. The attacks and gross violations of labor rights bring us farther from achieving the Decent Work Agenda and sustainable economy,” ended Porras.

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Abuses of the right to strike, the right to establish and join a trade union, the right to trade union activities and civil liberties and the right to free speech and assembly are at an eight-year high, according to the ITUC’s annual Global Rights Index.
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