No problem with workers’ rights in PH, says Baldoz
MANILA, Philippines—Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has downplayed the assessment of an international workers’ rights organization that the Philippines is among the worst countries in the world for workers.
“It does not necessarily concern the workers’ rights since we don’t have problems with workers’ rights. We can say the industry advocacy for workers in the country is very good,” said Baldoz, referring to the 2014 Global Rights Index of the Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
ITUC ranked 139 countries based on internationally recognized indicators to assess where workers’ rights, such as democratic rights, decent wages, safer working conditions and secure jobs, are best protected, in law and in practice.
Countries were ranked from 1 (best) to 5 (worst) based on 97 indicators related to workers’ rights. The evaluation was conducted from April 2013 to March 2014.
The Philippines obtained a rating of 5, which meant that legislation protecting workers’ rights were in place but workers effectively had no access to such rights, thus exposing them to autocratic regimes and unfair labor practices.
“In terms of quality of work in the country, I can say we are doing OK. The same goes with what they are saying about labor rights,” Baldoz said.
But she said that if there was one aspect of the ITUC findings that was accurate, it would be the problem of the extrajudicial killings of workers.
According to Baldoz, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has committed to fast-track the investigation and hearing of extrajudicial killings involving workers by creating special prosecutor teams.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), meanwhile, said the ITUC findings only confirmed what labor groups in the country had been saying all along.
“The TUCP confirms the findings of the ITUC that the Philippines is indeed one of the worst places to work in,” said TUCP president Democrito Mendoza in a statement.
The TUCP underscored the high unemployment in the country, adding that it expected this to increase because there was no new infrastructure to attract large and jobs-creating investments.