Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the celebration of Labor Day

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the celebration of Labor Day

As the country celebrates Labor Day, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) extends its deepest solidarity with all Filipino workers, both the local workforce and overseas Filipino workers, acknowledging their invaluable contributions to the nation’s progress and development.

This is also an opportune day to affirm our commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of workers. We can concretely demonstrate this by recognizing the workers’ rights to assembly and petition government for redress of grievances. As such, CHR takes this occasion to remind the state forces to protect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest. For our part, the Commission also deployed investigation teams in the metro and the regions to monitor Labor Day protests.

Today is also a crucial day to acknowledge the gaps in promoting workers’ rights, such as unemployment, underemployment, contractualization, attacks against labor union leaders and members, among others. At the same time, it is important to highlight efforts to address labor issues to ensure consistent implementation of comprehensive support mechanisms for the vulnerable and disadvantaged workers.

Consistent with the recommendation of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to intensify collaboration among relevant government agencies, CHR and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) on 20 October 2023. The signed MOA and DSA will further enable and capacitate both parties to address labor-related challenges through consistent and effective cooperation, particularly to aid in the speedy and comprehensive conduct of investigations on violations of workers’ freedom of association and right to organise; to reinforce close cooperation for case build-up and evidence gathering; and provide financial assistance for violations/abuses of workers’ rights, among others.

This collaboration is also in response to the provisions of Executive Order No. 23 (EO 23), or the Interagency Committee for the Protection of the Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise of Workers, to ensure effective response to labor-related concerns and expedite processes, which will allow for the Philippines’ better compliance under ILO and other human rights conventions. The establishment of the EO 23 is a step toward addressing enduring labor disputes and defending labor rights as guaranteed by the ILO’s fundamental agreements, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We anticipate subsequent efforts from the interagency body in response to all ILO recommendations, fostering even greater protection of workers’ rights.

CHR also takes this occasion to acknowledge the efforts made by relevant government agencies, particularly DOLE, in implementing programs that help advance the plight of workers in the country. This includes Integrated Livelihood Program, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers, Public Employment Service Office (PESO), Government Internship Program, Special Program for the Employment of Students, among others.

Moreover, the Commission reiterates its expression of gratitude to the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) for adopting Resolution No. 2, s. 2023, which calls upon the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Congress to ensure an adequate budget for the Commission. The NTIPC is the main consultative body with regards labor, employment, and social policies at the national level. We express our high hopes that the said resolution will pave the way towards the full support of Congress to help CHR sufficiently perform additional mandates delegated under newly passed pieces of legislation.

Sustained commitment from government agencies, civil society, the private sector, and workers themselves is crucial in effecting meaningful change and achieving lasting reforms in the labor sector.

In solidarity with all Filipino workers, CHR reaffirms its commitment to safeguarding their rights. Workers across all sector deserve our utmost salute and honor. Let us all unite in creating a society where every worker is given fair treatment, just compensation, and safe working conditions. Mabuhay ang manggagawang Pilipino! ###