The Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region and the NCR Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) held a Regional Consultative Workshop to review the third draft of the DOLE-DILG-PNP-DND-AFP Joint Guidelines on the Conduct of the AFP/PNP relative to the Exercise of the Workers Right To Freedom of Association, Collective Bargaining, Concerted Actions and Other Trade Union Activities to comply with Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declaring labor rights as human rights and recognizing the basic right of the workers to form and join trade unions for their protection. The consultation was held at the Ichikawa Auditorium of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) on February 7, 2012.
Present during the consultation were the local TIPCs in NCR, the Industrial Tripartite Councils in the Broadcast, Hospital, Education, Logistics and Cargo Handling, Bus Transport, and Fishing sectors, LGU representatives, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Commission on Human Rights, and the Department of Justice.
Addressing the participants during the consultative workshop, DOLE-NCR Regional Director Alan M. Macaraya said, “the presence of our partners here today is a manifestation that all of us recognizes the need to work hand in hand to come up with a standard protocol in the conduct of labor disputes and to address obstacles to the effective exercise of trade union rights.”
Director Macaraya further said, “workers’ and employers’ representation in the decision and policy-making programs of the government sets a degree of equilibrium towards achieving social consensus.” He enjoined the usual cooperation of everyone in the course of evaluating their actions with the aim of protecting and respecting the rights of trade unions vis-a vis their activities and the extent of government intervention from law enforcement agencies like the PNP and AFP in maintaining industrial peace in pursuit of national security.
Col. Domingo Tutaan, Jr. of the Armed Forces of the Philippines - Human Rights Office, together with Police Superintendent Conrado Villanueva and Police Senior Supt. Gregorio A. Pua of the PNP-Human Rights Affairs Office presented to those in attendance the specific roles and responsibilities of their respective agencies during strikes and lockouts. Said officers agreed that peace and security should be a joint undertaking of all citizens, and not just the law enforcement agencies.
Some of the pertinent recommendations mentioned during the consultation were the inclusion of security guards in the scope and coverage of the joint guidelines as they are always at the forefront of labor disputes. The body also pushed for the conduct of human rights training for security guards so they may learn about the rights of workers, prior to their deployment.
The employer sector moved to include Article 264 of the Labor Code (Prohibited Acts of Labor and Employment Sector) under Article II, Workers Rights Relative to the Exercise of Freedom of Expression of the said guidelines. Aside from a gun-free provision in strike zones, the body proposed that all deadly-weapons shall be prohibited as well, allowing nothing but baton (batuta) during strikes. Management acknowledged their consequential responsibilities in strike zones at all times.
The PNP/AFP can only set-up a detachment within 50-meter radius in strike zones upon the recommendation of the PNP duly approved by DOLE as dictated by the security-situation and the moment the risk (or the possibility of recurrences – TUCP) ceases to exist, the same should be dismantled/removed from the said area.
The above-mentioned recommendations and other comments were forwarded to the Bureau of Labor Relations for consideration in the finalization of the joint guidelines.