Statement of the Commission on Human Rights supporting Philippine National Bank’s training on Business and Human Rights

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights supporting Philippine National Bank’s training on Business and Human Rights

The Philippine National Bank (PNB) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) co-hosted a forum on Mainstreaming Business Sustainability and Development Framework on 12 December 2023.

CHR expresses its full support for the PNB and other stakeholders in this endeavor to recognise the need for a Business and Human Rights (BHR) framework, which stems from the notion that businesses, including financial institutions, play an important role in upholding human rights.

The Commission acknowledges the PNB’s initiative to lead a forum that discusses the relevant roles of business organisations, particularly in their fiscal and economic policies, in making a significant impact on fostering inclusive and just business practices in the country. It only demonstrates PNB’s strong commitment to creating a business environment guided by a sustainable development framework based on the ideals of advancing social justice and human rights.

These principles, as enshrined in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP-BHR), serve as an international blueprint, encouraging governments, businesses, and stakeholders to work with one another to ensure that economic activities positively contribute to the advancement and protection of human rights and sustainable development.

The CHR’s National Inquiry on Climate Change highlights the financial sector’s distinctive role in guiding companies and industries directly down a sustainable path by aligning their investment and lending portfolios for “green” projects and science-based targets.

In the realm of these businesses’ financial decisions, it is critical that their financial and economic pursuits intertwine with a steadfast commitment to upholding human rights and shaping a future where economic development and social justice coexist harmoniously.

In this regard, it is worth noting that the Senate ratified the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 190 (C190), also known as the Convention Concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the Workplace, last December 2023.

Under this Convention, member-states are urged to implement and monitor workplace policies that specify workers’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities, provide information on complaint and investigation procedures, and include measures to protect complainants, victims, and witnesses from retaliation.

These actions will strengthen the Philippine government’s mandate and policy of promoting and protecting Filipino workers’ rights, while also ensuring that the country’s businesses continue to uphold human rights through responsible, ethical, and inclusive business practices.

The Commission will continue to serve as a bridge between the government, businesses, and other stakeholders who are committed to the UNGP-BHR framework. Furthermore, the adoption of these frameworks is a tangible step toward incorporating human rights into the country’s business practices, as well as an affirmation of our shared commitment to creating a nation in which every individual, regardless of background, can work with dignity and respect.###