Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines
Thru: Secretary Arturo Brion
Department of Labor and Employment
The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) hereby raises to your office as Chief Executive of the land our concerns about the reports that at the International Labor Organization Conference Committee on Standards meeting held in Geneva, the Philippine representative rejected said committee’s recommendation for the ILO to send a high-level mission to the Philippines to look into the case of involuntarily disappeared and murdered trade union activists and leaders.
We find such Philippine representative’s stance unacceptable, and highly irregular for the Philippines to take, our country having acceded and ratified so many international human rights instruments and ILO Conventions. By extension, any mission that an international body such as the ILO sends to the country is but in accordance with the country’s commitments to these same standards.
It is our conviction that the present administration will be in a better position to go after the perpetrators of these killings if this mission is allowed to proceed, as it would send out the signal that this administration has nothing to hide.
The APL believes that the presence in the country of the ILO observers will enable a more balanced and detailed perspective on the continued rise of extra-judicial killings and hopefully speed up the process of finding justice for the victims’ families.
Aside from these killings, there are also numerous other unresolved labor-related cases that continue to create doubts about the country’s ability to live up to its commitments to various international treaties. The unfinished dispute at Hacienda Luisita, for example, continues to cast doubt on the veracity of reported industrial peace and the level of respect for workers’ and trade union rights. The actual situation prevailing in the export processing zones also needs to be looked into.
It is the fervent hope of the APL that your office will finally allow a truly impartial and objective body such as the ILO and its tripartite mission to visit the country, not only to belie claims of widespread violations of human, democratic, workers’ and trade union rights in particular, but also to foster the development of an environment conducive to workers freely associating, bargaining with employers and the government and expressing their beliefs.
Very truly yours,
Daniel L. Edralin