COUNTRY REPORT: PHILIPPINES
                       ITC-ILO/ACTRAV TRAINING COURSE
                   A-3 00847: TRADE UNION TRAINING ON ILS
                                 ITS FOLLOW-UP
                                 Asia & the Pacific
                           January 29-February 23, 2007
                                    Turin, Italy

                                         Presented By
                                     DANILO M. PADERES
                        Director, Membership Recruitment & Services Dept.
                              ASSOCIATED LABOR UNIONS-TUCP
                                       Luzon Area Office


        The Associated Labor Unions which represents 14 industry unions in the Philippines,
including seafarers, is the biggest affiliate of TUCP in terms of membership. The ALU was founded
on April 17, 1954, with only 32 members, as a reaction to the injustice in the port of Cebu and with
the thought that “a strong union is the best legal alternative to co-exist with capital for mutually
beneficial ends.” Now, 53 years after its founding, ALU has a total membership of 350,000.

        The dedication “to improve the quality of life of the working class, champion their rights and
aspirations for human dignity, equal opportunity, freedom and justice” is carried by ALU through its
different service programs to members. ALU has been noted for its legal services, medical and
dental services, welfare aid programs, education and information services, cooperative services,
community and welfare services, spiritual services, mass media project, aside from the traditional
services which are part of the functions of legitimate trade unions: handling grievances of
members, negotiating for collective bargaining agreements and representing the workers in public

        These services are made possible because of the administrative and operational
infrastructures put in place by the leaders of the union regionally and nationally. (Refer to the ALU
Organization Structure attached.)


        The education programs usually conducted by the Education and Information Division of
ALU ranges from Basic Trade Union Orientation, Labor Leadership Seminars, Paralegal Seminar,
Grievance Handling, Collective Bargaining, TU Administration, TU Financial Management, The
Impact of Globalization on the Trade Unions, Decent Work and Trade Unions, OSH, Gender
Sensitivity, Gender Issues, Child Labor, HIV Aids, Reproductive Health, Corporate Social
Responsibility and Trade Unions, Cooperatives, Micro Finance Seminars for Displaced Workers,
Livelihood seminars, Work Attitude and Productivity, etc.

       ALU is setting aside a portion of its fund for education programs. This is supplemented
from time to time by TUCP, DOLE and global unions giving financial assistance to conduct
seminars and programs targeting specific issues. However, despite these resources, there is still
a growing demand of local officers and members for more education and information.

       At the national center level, TUCP’s program has evolved into striking a balance between
socio-political role in society and addressing the daily needs of workers. Their activities has
broadened to go beyond the traditional workplace struggles such as labor law reforms, workers’
education, organizing and advocacy work to environment and sustainable development, HIV Aids

and Reproductive Health, Core Labor Standards, Decent Work, etc. This is a clear demonstration
of “responsible unionism” which continuously pursues respect and adherence to fundamental trade
union and human rights while putting value in undertaking social development activities. TUCP
also reiterates that their programs are not substitute for the proper role of the government but to
focus on the promotion of legal compliance, respect for standards, harmonious industrial relations
and respect for the role of trade unions in society. Thus, in export processing zones, TUCP has
fielded trade union representatives that looked into the implementation of core labor standards at
the different companies in the area.


       The unionized private sector workers in the Philippines are distributed in two (2) labor
(KMU) and LABOR ADVISORY CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL (LACC) which affiliates comprises
FFW, KMU, LMLC, TUPAS and other independent unions.

        As for the public sector, there are four (4) active federations in the Philippines:
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE). The first two (2) are affiliates of TUCP, the third one
is with LMLC and the last one with KMU.


       The Philippines is now undergoing a review of the Labor Code wherein the ALU, as part of
the TUCP group, is very much involved. Together with some sectors, the following was the
analysis on the present thrust of the labor laws: (Source: TUCP materials)

   1. The existing law give positive legal rights to workers and employers which are legally
      demandable and enforceable. Example: the right to security of tenure.

   2. The existing law give legal protection to workers by imposing certain prohibitions or
      restrictions or prescribing certain standards or vesting regulatory power or powers to
      intervene on certain government officials. Example: the power of the Secretary of Labor to
      set and enforce mandatory OSH standards.

   3. The existing law provide for the planning and implementation of programs for workers.
      Example: the Technical Educations and Skills Development Authority (TESDA);

   4. The existing law provide for the government agencies which exercise executive, quasi-
      legislative and quasi-judicial powers for the enforcement and implementation of labor laws
      and programs in the field of labor. Example: Secretary of Labor and Employment and the
      National Labor Relations Commission.

With the above and the ongoing review, certain identified issues need to be resolved. Should the
labor law provide for additional legal rights? Should the law redefine, increase, change, improve
certain conditions for the exercise of these rights? Should the law intensify, withdraw, or modify
existing prohibitions and restrictions, increase or decrease the regulation of the state in certain
enforcement of labor laws and a better (speedier, more honest, more equitable) administration of
labor justice?

      In response to the above issues, the TUCP group came up with the following

   1. Add the following new legal rights – the right to equal employment opportunity, equal pay
      for work of equal value, right of government employees to enjoy the minimum standards of
      wages and benefits and other terms and conditions of employment in the private sector

   2. Reinforce worker preference in case of bankruptcy or liquidation of employer’s business,
      protect the right to security of tenure in case there is transfer of ownership of a business
      and clarify the right against elimination or diminution of benefits

   3. Effect stricter regulation of labor-only contracting, define job contracting and core work

   4. Provide for a more effective planning and implementation of a technical and vocational
      guidance and training programs, an expanded program of occupational health and safety
      to include both preventive and rehabilitation aspects in the existing employees
      compensation program and a more effective program to promote free trade unionism and
      collective bargaining

   5. Reinforce tripartite representations in all labor-related agencies of the government

   6. Expand pre-departure orientation to overseas Filipino workers to include not only the
      culture of the country of destination, the Philippine embassies, but also the existing trade
      union centers available in the area


        At the international level, we have relied mostly on global unions to represent us and
address problems created by globalization. We know that global unions are continuously
requesting that there should be an urgent review of trade liberalization particularly its impact on
employment and working conditions in labor intensive industries such as textile and garment. On
the increasing number of migrant workers, global unions and national trade union centers are
fighting for the inclusion of labor standards conditionalities and gender dimensions in all bilateral
and multilateral trade agreements and promotion of trade based on respect for international labor
standards. All of these proposals are geared towards all producing countries a chance to win
through equitable sharing of world markets.


          The Philippines has ratified 33 ILO labor conventions including core labor standards. The
list follows: (Source: ILO materials)

       1. C17 Workmen’s Compensation (Accidents) Convention, 1925 -on Nov 17, 1960
       2. C19 Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention, 1925 – on April 26,
       3. C23 Repatriation of Seamen Convention, 1926 – on Nov 11, 1960
       4. C29 Forced Labour Convention, 1930 – on July 15, 2005
       5. C53 Officers’ Competency Certificates Convention 1936 – Nov 17, 1960
       6. C59 Minimum Age (Industry) Convention (Revised), 1937 – on Nov 17, 1960
           (Denounced on June 4, 1998)
       7. C77 Medical Examination of Young Persons (Industry) Convention, 1946 – on Nov 17,
       8. C87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention. 1948
           – on Dec 29, 1953
       9. C88 Employment Service Convention, 1948 – on Dec 29, 1953
       10. C89 Night Work (Women) Convention (Revised), 1948 – Dec 29, 1953
       11. C90 Night Work of Young Persons (Industry) Convention (Revised), 1948 – on Dec 29,

       12. C93 Wages, Hours of Work and Manning (Sea) Convention (Revised), 1949 – on Dec
           29, 1953
       13. C94 Labour Clauses (Public Contracts) Convention, 1949 – on Dec 29, 1953
       14. C95 Protection of Wages Convention, 1949 – on Dec 29, 1953
       15. C98 Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 – on Dec 29, 1953
       16. C99 Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery (Agriculture) Convention, 1951 – on Dec 29,
       17. C100 Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 – on Dec 29, 1953
       18. C105 Abolition of Forced Labor Convention, 1957 on Nov 17, 1960
       19. C110 Plantations Convention. 1958 – on Oct 10, 1968
       20. C111 Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 – on Nov 17,
       21. C118 Equality of Treatment (Social Security), 1962 – on April 26, 1994
       22. C122 Employment Policy Convention, 1964 – on Jan 13, 1976
       23. C138 Minimum Age Convention, 1973 – on June 4, 1998
       24. C141 Rural Workers’ Organisations Convention, 1975 – on June 18, 1979
       25. C143 Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 – on Sept. 14,
       26. C144 Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 – on
           June 10, 1991
       27. C149 Nursing Personnel Convention, 1976 – on June 18, 1979
       28. C157 Maintenance of Social Security Rights Convention, 1982 – April 26, 1994
       29. C159 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention,
           (Revised) 1983, on Aug 23, 1991
       30. C165 Social Security (Seafarers) Convention (Revised), 1987 – on Nov 9, 2004
       31. C176 Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 – on Feb 27, 1998
       32. C179 Recruitment and Placement of Seafarers Convention, 1996 – on March 13, 1998
       33. C182 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 – on Nov 28, 2000

(Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer National Broad sheets)

       The Philippines hosted the 12th ASEAN Summit early this year. During the summit, the ten
(l0) Asian leaders adopted a string of landmark accords aimed at enhancing economic
development and common security such as:

   1. The Cebu Declaration on the Blueprint of the ASEAN Charter
   2. The ASEAN Convention on Counterterrorism
   3. The Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community
      by 2015 which seeks to spur economic, political, and socio-cultural cooperation in the
   4. The Cebu Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers


        The Philippines has one of the sharpest contradictions in gender equality today. Significant
inroads in politics has been made including having two (2) women presidents and improving
participations of women not only in Congress and Senate but also at the cabinet and local
government unit levels. Numerous Filipinas continue to lead in national and international
discourses and initiatives from the academe to politics and to business. But there are also women
who are at the receiving end of domestic violence, trafficking and prostitution, illegal recruitment
and unfair employment contracts.

       The ALU and TUCP are doing its share to eliminate discrimination on women through its
gender policy focused on women empowerment. The goal of the gender programs conducted is to

increase the women participation in all levels of trade union structure and activities by allocating in
its budget gender equality programs.

(Source: National Statistics Office

       The Philippine GNP has increased to P1.6 trillon in the third quarter of 2006 or a 21.34%
increase for a period of 21 months from the P1.3 trillon in the first quarter of 2005. This is largely
due to the remittances of overseas Filipino workers which totaled $10.3 billion in October 2006 or
an increase of 16.6% from the $8.83 billion in 2005.

       Although the Philippine government have been very clear with its goal of promoting
migration but only for temporary work, based on statistics, the Philippines is the largest exporter of
migrant labor followed by Mexico.

       The result of the October 2006 labor force survey indicated modest change in the country’s
labor market situation in comparison with the same period in 2005. Employment grew at about
1.0% with the service sector contributing 1.9% due to the booming call center industry while little
change occurred in the industry, agriculture, fishery and forestry sector.

        The NSO reported that there were 16.l million persons employed in the service sector
which comprised around 50% of the total employed persons as against 15.8 million in 2005. The
second largest sector in terms of employment contribution is the agriculture which comprised
36.76% of the total employed. The industry sector generated 12,000 new jobs during the one-year
period from 4.883 million in 2005 to 4.895 million as of October 2006.

       The country’s unemployment rate as of October 2006 survey slightly dropped at 7.3% from
8% in July. This drop was the result of 300,000 new jobs created by the booming service sector
and the decline in the overall labor force which fell from 36.l65 million in the previous quarter as
against 35.8 million in October, 2006.

       A total of 20.5 million Filipino employed works full-time, 40 hours or more in a week,
representing 62% of the total Filipino employed which is 33.185 million. On the other hand,
those who work part-time or less than 40 hours a week, comprised 12.2 million of the total
employed or 38% or an increase compared to 2005 which is 11.8 million.

        The underemployment rate also improved, dropping to 20.4% from 21.2% in 2005. The
latest underemployment rate translated to 6.8 million Filipinos. This is 201,000 less than the 7
million estimated in 2005.

        The unequal distribution of employment between men and women was reflected in the
significant number of women between the age ranges of 15-24 and 25-34 years old who were not
part of the labor force compared to men. Based on the same survey, there are more men than
women in the labor force. The age group with the biggest number of employed persons are
between 25-34 years old for both sexes. In addition, men received higher daily wages compared
to women. There are more women workers who are classified as unpaid family workers compared
to men, most of whom are categorized as laborers and unskilled workers.

      Poverty incidence in the Philippines decreased from 33.0% in 2000 as against 30.4% in
2003; however, inflation rate increased from 5.4% in June 2004 to 7.6% in June 2005 and
decreased to 6.7% in June 2006.


       Aside from the pending revision of the Labor Code and the issue of gender mainstreaming

in the trade union movement, the following are the challenges facing the Philippine trade union

1. The growing informal sector – Around 65% of the labor force in the Philippines works in the
   informal sector. Although a study said that the Philippines has fared better than its Asian
   neighbors in complying with standards set by ILO, including decent workplace and health
   coverage, imposition of these standards to the informal sector may lead to a dangerous
   consequences given their small scale operations. This creates a problem in organizing and
   collective bargaining.

2. Changes in employment relationships – A long list of examples can be given from outsourcing,
   sub-contracting, contract labor, and other various forms of precarious employment which
   reduced the number of workers covered in the collective bargaining agreements.

3. Child Labor – The number of Filipino children engaged in hazardous jobs is 2.4 million from the
   total of 4 million working Filipino children aged 5 to 17 and 1.4 million have stopped going to
   school. The government has relaunched the Child Labor Free and Child Friendly Recognition
   Program, a multi-sectoral National Child Labor Committee which includes TUCP with the
   objective of reducing this number by 600,000 in 2015.

4. Human Trafficking – There are no official data tracking returning workers who were victimized
   by human trafficking but the Philippines is one of the countries identified with human trafficking
   problems. Many women are recruited ignorant of the living and working conditions facing
   them. The TUCP is involved at present with the USAID and Solidarity Center’s Anti-Trafficking
   program which continuously dialogues with different government agencies involved with the
   Anti-Trafficking Law.

5. ICT Needs of Trade Unions – While the national center or TUCP is equipped with information
   communications technology, its affiliates are still incapable of using information technology for
   data collection, analysis, and distribution. Unions at the federation level are hampered by its
   incapability to make use of the voluminous informative materials and data received from
   different locals, organizations and global unions to process all these information that would be
   meaningful to its members, in particular and the workers, in general. Anent to this is that most
   union offices in the provinces are not really equipped with modern equipments due to financial
   constraints, more so, with the diminishing union membership.


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