Freedom of Association

DOLE opening address at the Capacity Building Seminar of selected NTIPC-MB, RTMB and CHR representatives on case build-up and documentation

By Director Raymundo Agravante, Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment Davao Region (DOLE XI) at the Capacity Building Seminar of selected NTIPC-MB, RTMB and CHR representatives on case build-up and documentation, Davao City, Philippines, 8 March 2018

To Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod, to our resource persons, to the members of the National and Regional Tripartite Monitoring Bodies, and to our partners from the Commission on Human Rights, good morning, and welcome to Davao City!

The conduct of this two-day Capacity Building on Case Build-up and Documentation is very timely given the 2016 ILO Direct Contact Mission’s comments and recommendations regarding the observance of workers’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. And that Davao was chosen as the venue for this activity is opportune as well because, as some of you are aware of, there are FOA-related complaints filed before the ILO that originated in this region.

In the course of verifying alleged violations or non-observance of freedom of association, the Region 11 Tripartite Monitoring Body has been getting affidavits of the complainants and interviewing them or their relatives, if necessary. But in our experience, the lack of witnesses and non-cooperation of the parties, among others, can hinder the case build-up, documentation, and monitoring. I hope that with this activity, these issues will be addressed or tackled at the very least.

We have invited resource persons from the Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, and Philippine National Police in order for the members of NTIPC-MB and RTMBs to have an appreciation of criminal investigation process, rules of criminal procedure, international labor conventions, and other national laws relevant to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The discussion can be legalistic for those who are not lawyers. But I indulge everyone to be attentive and to actively participate especially in the workshop, because as members of the national and regional tripartite monitoring bodies that are mandated to verify and monitor allegations of threat, intimidation, and harassment against trade unionists, you play an important role in ensuring the implementation of international labor standards, particularly ILO Conventions No. 87 and 98.

In what areas or stages in case-building and monitoring the tripartite monitoring bodies can contribute and participate? What amendments in operational guidelines or policy recommendations should be initiated in order to facilitate sectoral participation in case-building and monitoring of alleged labor-related human rights abuses? These are just some of the issues you may want to reflect on during this two-day activity.

I hope that all will have a meaningful and productive discussion, and that everyone will learn everything that is necessary for you to be able to carry out your functions as members of tripartite monitoring bodies. Thank you!