Ishibashi Michihiro, Japanese Democratic Party member and incumbent Senator visited the LEARN Workers’ House in Quezon City on Friday, July 8, 2011.
Bro. Hiro, as he is fondly called, is a former Program Officer for Workers’ Activities at the ILO International Training Center (ITC-ILO/ACTRAV). The Alliance of Progressive Labor and Labor Education and Research Network recognized the tremendous work that Bro. Hiro has done during his stay in the ILO Manila Office. He played a huge role in opening up cooperation with the ILO to trade union centers and federations other than those affiliated with the ITUC. This effort led to a more dynamic work and cooperation that culminated in the successful lobbying for the approval by the Philippine government for the visit of the ILO High Level Mission in September 2009 to investigate trade unionist killing as well as trade union rights violations, which include the infamous shaving of heads as an illegal strike doctrine coming out of the Dusit Thani Hotel case penned by Justice Presbitero Velasco. This decision by Justice Velasco was decided by the Committee on Freedom of Association last November 2010 declaring that the Philippine government violated ILO Conventions 87 and 98. This is now a subject for a separate campaign on the implementation of the said ILO recommendation.
Returning to the Philippines after more than 2-years, Bro. Hiro is now a successful politician having been elected as a Senator representing the Democratic Party of Japan. He attributed his political victory to the support of the trade union movement in Japan. He also shared information and experiences including current issues in Japan, among them the catastrophic tsunami, its aftermath, the radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant and the hidden cost among the contractual workers of the said nuclear plant, among others. There was also a discussion on the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) which could be one of the issues that could be discussed further with Bro. Hiro as he continues to embark on his new calling.
First posted at Learn.org.ph