Duterte administration puts workers’ lives in peril even before the EU revoke threat

Workers protest against joblessness and rampant attacks on freedom of association. Photo by ABSCBN.

It has been proved that when oppressors appear in dispute, whether for the sake of economic interests or propaganda, citizens, especially workers, suffer.

Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) calls on the government to let the European Union (EU) investigate its human rights violation cases rather than just a statement of denial; and in turn loosing privileges that will blow up not on businesses but on workers.

EU’s threat on revoking Philippines tariff perks will put at least 200,000 jobs in danger according to the December 2014 government data. Agriculture and garments sectors will be the most affected, said ALU-TUCP, in an interview.

Before this, Mactan Export Processing Zone 1 (MEPZA) Workers’ Alliance in Cebu reported at least 4000 workers laid-off by the huge garment factory on a day only. Retrenchment is rampant; and the threat of more workers losing their jobs is alarming.

Labor council from SOCCSKARGEN explained how workers in the fishing sector will be affected if market in Europe will be sacked. Prices of the goods at the fish port will go down if Philippines lose its Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status and reducing number of workers will be the answer for the production slowdown.


“If the administration has no overall control on jobs, protection from these threats of further unemployment should be at least provided. If the palace jabs EU’s threat through propaganda of denial, it will not suffice. The government must adhere to its commitment and duty on protecting jobs and its workers,’’ EILER Executive Director Rochelle Porras said.

The unemployment rate soared due to the months-long lockdown and strict quarantine; and according to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s update, 4.6 million Filipinos are jobless on July. Moreover, 50 workers and trade unionists were killed under the Duterte administration according to Center for Trade Union and Human Rights.

“Workers have always been part of the sectors that receive state-sponsored attacks and violations on basic human rights. Unemployment being the first major effect (of the EU fiasco) will double the burden against the workers that keeps the Philippines surviving this pandemic,” Porras ended.

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