The ILO Mission Team after the consultation with workers
                                      in Southern Tagalog

Press Release


29 September 2009

A three-person ILO team headed by International Labour Standard Director Ms. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry met with union representatives in the Southern Tagalog region and listened to their testimonies on severe trade union rights violation cases, one of which is the No Union, No Strike (NUNS) policy that is very apparent in the province of Cavite.

The ILO team was quite astonished to learn how the local government and police violate workers rights to freedom of association when the workers presented two evidences that justify NUNS implementation in Cavite.

The first was a personal letter, dated March 26, 2001,  of then Congressman Maliksi to the investors association promising that neither a union shall be formed nor a strike shall be held and promote industrial peace, and a police certification given to workers’ applicants stating that they underwent a seminar on evils of communism and negative effects of militant unionism.

In a workers’ closed-door consultation with the ILO team held on September 25, 2009, Cavite labor leaders presented their cases which included the killings of two union leaders of Yazaki-EDS Mfg., Inc. Jesus Servida and Gerardo Cristobal in 2006 and 2008, respectively; the abduction of two female union leaders and police assault at the picket line in two garment factories inside Cavite Export Processing Zone to forcibly end their lawful strike; a company closure to evade CBA negotiation in a factory in First Cavite Industrial Estate; and, a vilification campaign and naked interference of local government officials and the Provincial police Office (PPO) to prevent organization of militant unions.

All cited cases were means to implement the unwritten NUNS policy of the rabid anti-union Cavite Governor Ireneo “Ayong” Maliksi. The said policy intends to prevent workers from joining and organizing militant unions and freely exercising their right to hold pickets and strikes. Particularly in Cavite, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) played significant roles in violating workers’ union rights. The NUNS policy also follows the unwritten national state policy to repress labor groups espousing militant unionism.

The presentation of evidence was followed by the testimonies of workers who were victims of the violent implementation of the NUNS policy. The union president of Phils Jeon Garments Inc., Normelita Galon, broke into tears in front of the ILO team when she relived her traumatic experience that almost caused her life when several unidentified armed men attacked them in their picket line in the dead of night and abducted her. Teary-eyed listeners and a warm embrace from Doumbia-Henry sympathized with Galon as she narrated her harrowing experience.

Union representatives likewise expressed hopes that based on the recently concluded mission; the ILO will push their recommendations for labor law amendments allowing lenient requirements in union formation and recognition, and compel Philippine government to a stricter compliance with the ILO conventions 87 and 98.

The ILO high-level mission took place from September 22-29, 2009 investigating cases related to violation of ILO convention 87 and 98 that recognizes workers’ right to freedom of association, right to organize, and collective bargaining.