CHR says it’s ‘grievous’ that PH is 5th worse country in the world for working people

Published July 8, 2019, 12:24 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Chito Chavez

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) described anew as “grievous’’ the Philippines’ latest ranking of fifth among the worst countries in the world for working people.

This was revealed in the report of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index 2019.

Released on June 2019, the report meant that while laws provide certain rights in the country, “workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labor practices.”

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said it was disheartening for the country to drastically regress in “protecting the rights of workers’’.

Considering that this has been the case for two years in a row, the CHR said the government should have taken urgent actions on the deteriorating workers’ rights situation in the country.

Citing in particular, the CHR maintained that trade union members and leaders who are frontline of claiming rights must be accorded due protection for they are most vulnerable for fighting for the welfare of their fellow workers.

The CHR added “freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly, including the right to form and join trade unions are guaranteed rights’’.

However, de Guia noted the reprehensible escalation of violence, attacks and intimidation against workers especially those who are members of union groups did not seemingly wane.

Citing as an example, the CHR noted the death of nine striking sugar farmers last year “reflects the grim situation of workers’’.

The commission said that this year, 14 farmers were killed in Negros Oriental after supposedly resisting police arrest.

“The shrinking of democratic space in the country also exacerbates the cause of workers. Their grievances are tagged as political dissent.

Hence, many union groups are subjected to suppression, threats, and harassment,’’ the Commission noted.

“May the ITUC report jolt the government into action. Primarily the injustices committed towards workers in the past years need to be expediently resolved. Proactive efforts must also be done to address the grievances of workers instead of repressing them. There is always a peaceful and democratic way to resolve workers issues both on the part of the government, business, as well as workers, which is why it is essential to always create a safe and enabling space for dialogue,’’ the CHR concluded.