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Attacks on labor unions being addressed, DOLE tells ILO

The Labor department yesterday assured the International Labor Organization (ILO) that cases have been filed and investigations are progressing on reported trade union rights violations.

Reacting to an ILO report on “new grave allegations of violence and intimidations” against workers, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said there are functional administrative mechanisms and legal remedies that monitor and address cases of violations of labor and trade union rights.

“Reports or allegations of workers’ rights violations are acted upon by the DOLE’s national and regional tripartite monitoring bodies (RTMBs). They help ensure the full and swift investigation and resolution of the alleged acts of killings, harassment, and abduction of trade union leaders and members through the active involvement of workers and employers’ representatives in case monitoring,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement on Sunday.

He said at least 60 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings and attempted murder under the current administration are under close watch.

“Out of this number, 20 are pending in courts and the rest are progressing under regular criminal investigation,” he added.

Bello called on trade unions and workers to report violations of workers’ rights to the RTMBs which, despite having no investigative powers, help ensure the full and swift resolution of alleged acts of killings, harassment, and abduction of trade union leaders and members.

The DOLE chief also enjoined trade union leaders and workers to file criminal complaints against those who red-tag them, saying it is punishable under the Revised Penal Code and other laws which criminalize acts of persecution committed against an identifiable group on political grounds, Writ of Habeas Corpus (cases of illegal confinement or detention), Writ of Amparo (remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security is violated or threatened), and Writ of Habeas Data (right to privacy in life, liberty or security).

Bello said legal and institutional mechanisms protect the workers’ constitutional rights and civil liberties.

He cited a recent case where the Regional Trial Court in Baguio City granted a petition for a Writ of Amparo and issued an order prohibiting the police from making social media posts and putting up tarpaulins branding four student activists as communists-terrorists.

“Trade union leaders and members are assured of government’s promotion and protection of their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and welfare,” Bello said.*PNA

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