Philippines: Tripartite ILO mission calls for presidential commission

photo: IUF

The ITUC has welcomed the call by a special ILO tripartite mission to the Philippines for the establishment of a presidential commission to investigate extra-judicial killings of workers and ensure freedom of association.

The mission, composed of representatives from the Swedish government, Australian employers and Fijian trade unions, called for the government to set up the commission and report back to the ILO before this year’s International Labour Conference which starts on 5 June.

One of the mission’s key recommendations was that “a single presidentially mandated body should be established and empowered to comprehensively identify and address through a specified plan of action, including time frames, resources and accountability, all outstanding cases of alleged labour-related, extra-judicial killings and abductions.”

The killings of 70 trade union leaders and advocates, as well as a number of abductions of trade unionists will fall under the remit of the commission

The recommendation was originally called for by the ITUC’s affiliates in the Philippines (FFW, KMU, SENTRO and TUCP) and affiliates of Global Union Federation. The formation of a commission was also backed by a number of employer organisations operating in the Philippines.

Owen Tudor, ITUC Deputy General Secretary, said: “For many years, trade unionists have faced persecution, including murder and abduction, while the perpetrators have operated with impunity.

“Philippines President Bongbong Marcos must now act without any delay to establish the commission, ensure that those responsible for the reign of anti-union terror are brought to justice, and heed the other recommendations of the mission’s report, including full respect for freedom of association. Workers in the Philippines, like everywhere else, must have the right to organise unions without external interference or repression.”