THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) rejected claims that its industrial-peace initiative with the police at Clark Freeport infringes on labor rights.

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said Thursday that labor rights and worker welfare are non-negotiable when it registers locators, noting that the authority observes labor laws and standards.

“Filipino workers are our friends, not enemies. We should win their hearts and minds, so it is our shared goal to take care of their welfare and concerns. Key performance areas of PEZA are investment, exports, and employment. Investments generate jobs and the country has good human capital. It is our interest that both locators and workers are taken care of,” she said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has said Clark’s Joint Industrial Peace Concerns Office (JIPCO) with the Philippine National Police (PNP) could have an impact on collective bargaining, freedom of association, and labor-management relations.

The Region 3 Police Director, Brigadier General Rhodel O. Sermonia, has said that JIPCO prevents “radical labor infiltration” of the labor force by communist groups.

Ms. Plaza said the aim of JIPCO is to promote ease of doing business and global competitiveness in ecozones by addressing security issues.

“A PNP station will be put up in large ecozones so that the police permits and clearances of thousands of workers are within their reach. JIPCO also aims to help the PEZA security force in enforcing the law and ensuring peace and order in the ecozones,” she said.

The statement added that police personnel will be at Police Community Precincts at the periphery of ecozones. — Jenina P. Ibañez