Trade Union Congress of the Philippines - TUCP

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) welcomes the Trilateral United States-Japan-Philippines Leaders’ Summit and reiterates that upholding fundamental labor rights, especially workers’ freedom of association and right to organize, should be central to the advancement of the free and open Indo-Pacific Strategy. In their Joint Vision Statement, the United States, Japan, and the Philippines envision expanded cooperation with “STRONG PROTECTIONS FOR LABOR RIGHTS” and that they will remain steadfast in their commitment to the “LABOR RIGHTS OF OUR PEOPLE.”

“This shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific that upholds labor rights at all times should serve as marching orders for all stakeholders—Government, business, and labor—at home and abroad, especially the United States and Japan, to place workers front and center in all the collective endeavors of our three nations,” stated TUCP Vice President Luis Corral.

Alongside investments in semiconductors, clean energy, and critical minerals, the United States will partner with Japan and the Philippines for the first Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) corridor in the Indo-Pacific—the Luzon Economic Corridor—which aims to improve connectivity between Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas in the Philippines.

“The TUCP has long proposed the establishment of a national railway system connecting regional and provincial agri-industrial which will ensure food security, decongest urban metropolitan areas, and democratize wealth creation by promoting rural development and job generation. The US Global Labor Strategy and Worker-Centered Trade require that these should create new, permanent, and decent jobs with living wages, security of tenure, and full and free exercise of fundamental labor rights,” asserted Corral.

The TUCP urges the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to address all the recommendations of the ILO since 2009 and calls on Congress to pass long-pending priority labor legislation that will make it easier to form unions, rationalize the overbroad power of the Labor Secretary to assume jurisdiction over labor disputes, and remove dismissal and imprisonment as penalty for illegal strikes and lockouts.

“These pressing issues are the crux of the matter that the Labor Working Group and/or other dialogue mechanisms between US and the Philippines, which should have meaningful genuine workers’ representation, should immediately tackle and resolve. Philippine Labor should have a seat at the table because we are precisely at the forefront of braving and countering labor rights violations and even violence which should end right now by complying with all the recommendations of the ILO and enacting long-overdue labor legislation that will amend our Labor Code to be fully compliant with ILO Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association,” emphasized Corral.

“Anchored on the belief that international trade and national prosperity are not brought about by cheap labor, but rather, compliance with our international human rights and labor rights commitments and obligations and in line with President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr.’s battle call that no worker should be left behind as we rapidly industrialize, the TUCP looks forward to the renewed and ever-strengthening US-Japan-Philippines friendship, partnership, and alliance in realizing our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific that upholds both freedom of navigation and freedom of association,” underscored Corral.

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