PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed
24 September 2021 (Friday)
Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has clarified that the proposed Alliance for Industrial Peace and Program (AIPP) neither intends to remove jurisdiction over labor disputes from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) nor aims to prejudice the constitutional and statutory rights of workers in the economic zones.
Established in 2018 in partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the AIPP is the proposed successor of the now defunct Joint Industrial Peace Council (JIPCO) which has for its primary object the preemption and prevention of crimes, of whatever nature, within the economic zones as it carries out its mandate of promoting and maintaining industrial peace. It aims not only to safeguard the rights of the workers guaranteed them by the constitution and the law, but also to secure their lives and property.
“Peace and security are important factors of investment to all PEZA-registered enterprises so they can be viable with their operations in the Philippines as they compete in the global market. Through the AIPP and its IRR, we believe this will harness the ease of doing business (EODB) in our zones as we implement the township concept and help provide a safe and secure ecozone environment for all of the Filipino and foreign workers, locators, and investors in ecozones,” said the PEZA Chief.
Director General Plaza likewise emphasized that PEZA has two (2) non-negotiables: 1) protection of the environment; and 2) rights of the workers. “PEZA assures that its policies are aligned with that of the DOLE and International Conventions and Trade Policies, particularly in the areas of Human Rights, Labor, Environmental Protection, and Good Governance,” she noted.
Various measures and policies are in place in order to ensure that the constitutional and statutory rights of the workers (Freedom of Association and Social Dialogues, among others) are upheld and promoted in the economic zones.
Moreover, labor-related seminars and trainings are continuously being conducted in order to raise awareness among the workers and management of their rights, duties, and obligations. In 2019 and up until the second quarter of 2020, 25 seminars were conducted. Further, PEZA’s Industrial Relations Division and units in its public zones in Cavite, Baguio, and Mactan continuously provide labor-related assistance to workers and management alike, not only in the settlement of disputes, but also in giving guidance in the proper exercise of the right to organize, bargain collectively, peaceably assemble, security of tenure, among others, on the part of the workers, and the proper exercise of management prerogative on the part of the management.
To date, PEZA has recorded and monitored more than 70 unions in 67 locators located in the 27 economic zones nationwide. Of the 78 unions, 22,372 union members are working inside the economic zones, of which 13,231 are male and 9,141 are female.