LABOR groups during a Nov. 30, 2020 rally at the UP Diliman campus — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE INTERNATIONAL Labor Organization (ILO) will discuss with Philippine labor and trade unions the cases of killings and rights violations against labor activists and workers, an ILO official said on Tuesday.

Maria Helena André,  director of the ILO Bureau of Worker’s Activities (ACTRAV), said the ILO plans to send some of its officials to the Philippines to probe reports of killings and harassment against those in the labor sector.

“Well, the last information I have on the plan is that it is going to happen in Jan. 2023,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a trade union forum organized by the ILO.

“I hope it will materialize since the mission will look at the recommendations of the ILO committee on the application of standards on attacks and violence against unionists,” she said.

Ms. André added that the Philippine government should uphold the rule of law since rights violations would deter investments and economic activity.

The ILO conference on Tuesday was attended by trade union representatives from Southeast Asia where they discussed the sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We, the trade unions of Southeast Asia have joined together to strengthen, and revitalize the trade union in the changing world of work and to affirm the mandate for social justice and decent work for all workers,” according to a resolution adopted by the groups on Tuesday.

Federation of Free Workers (FFW) Vice President Julius C. Cainglet said labor groups will raise concern over the unlawful arrest of a labor officer and a transport official on Monday.

“We will meet with ACTRAV and we will definitely raise this issue with them,” he told reporters at the same event.

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Monday condemned the arrest of its international officer, Kara Taggoaoa, and PASODA-PISTON President Larry Valbuena after they were arrested for supposed assault charges.

The cases stemmed from an incident during a rally in front of the Commission on Human Rights in 2020, where a police officer claimed they were assaulted by the two.

Meanwhile, Anakpawis party list, the electoral wing of KMU, held a protest at a Quezon City gas station on Tuesday reiterating their call for the suspension of excise and value-added taxes on oil products and repeal the Oil Deregulation Law, citing the impact on the livelihood of farmers, drivers, and fisherfolk.

If taxes were suspended, pump prices will be cheaper for diesel and gasoline, Anakpawis National President Ariel B. Casilao said in a statement.

Mr. Casilao said the hike in oil prices means an additional monthly cost of P8,000 for farmers to operate irrigation systems, 4,000 for fishermen, and P8,000 for jeepney drivers. John Victor D. Ordoñez and Kyanna Angela Bulan