Cebu News

Labor group slams absence of workers’ reps in presidential body

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Militant labor group, Partido Manggagawa (PM), slammed Department of Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma’s rationale for excluding workers’ representatives in the newly created Inter-Agency Committee for the Protection of the Freedom of Association and Right to Organize of Workers.

“Secretary Laguesma wants the accused to be the judge in labor rights cases. If we follow Laguesma’s faulty logic that complainants cannot be the judge then more so the accused. Laguesma’s logic betrays his class war framework that pays lip service to social dialogue principles. The demand that workers’ representatives sit in the inter-agency committee is aligned with the normative tenet of tripartism in resolving labor cases and disputes,” Dennis Derige, spokesperson of the PM-Cebu Chapter, said.

It can be recalled that on the eve of Labor Day, an Executive Order signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. created the inter-agency committee with Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin as chairperson, Laguesma as vice chair and includes other government agencies but excludes trade unions and employers’ groups.

While the security sector, specifically the Department of National Defense, National Security Council and the Philippine National Police, sits in the inter-agency committee.

“Security forces are the usual respondents, along with several employers, in the 380 cases involving killings, abductions, arrests, harassments and red-tagging of unionists detailed in the report of the workers to the International Labour Organization’s High-Level Tripartite Mission (ILO HLTM) last January,” said Derige.

Derige questioned what can workers expect from a Labor Secretary that makes lame excuses for banning trade unions?

This behavior, he said, may be expected of the government’s security forces but cannot be the attitude of a Labor Secretary. — GMR (FREEMAN)

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