US Report: Philippine Discrimination and Labor Rights Laws Not Effectively Implemented

MANILA, Philippines – Although the Philippines has laws and regulations against discrimination and to protect workers’ rights, the government does not effectively enforce them, the US State Department said in its 2021 Labor Rights Report. ‘male.

Persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples

The US State Department noted that the country’s laws aim to promote equal access for people with disabilities to all public facilities and also prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. He said equal access laws remain ineffective due to implementation issues, funding needs, among others. .

“The law has not been effectively enforced and many barriers remain for people with disabilities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the US State Department has said that although there are no laws that discriminate against indigenous peoples, there remains a cultural bias against them. He also said that indigenous groups, such as communities belonging to Lumad schools and students, were marked red and raided by police.

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Women, LGBTQI+, children

The report also noted that Philippine authorities do not allow transgender people to obtain passports reflecting their gender identity, requiring them to use the sex assigned at birth.

Members of the LGBTQI+ community also continue to face discrimination, he said. He also mentioned the case of Ebeng Mayor, a transgender man who was raped and physically assaulted last year.

Meanwhile, Washington pointed out that obstacles in obtaining rape convictions in Manila have delayed effective enforcement of rape cases.

There are still women who do not report cases of sexual violence due to cultural and social stigma, he added.

On the other hand, he noted the country’s efforts to punish and prevent acts of sexual harassment in public places, online spaces and schools.

“Despite the president’s support for a law against sexual harassment, local organizations observed that on several occasions Duterte’s rhetoric encouraged violence against women,” he said.

The US State Department has reported that the country has no law allowing for divorce and the alternatives available are complex and expensive.

Meanwhile, he also noted the increase in cases of abuse against women and children during the lockdown put in place due to the pandemic.

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Forced and early marriage is still a problem, the US State Department said. President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a measure banning child marriage earlier this year. However, the department also pointed out that children here remain vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

He also said that children here receive poor quality education and access to it also remains difficult.

Child labor also remains a problem, noting that the minimum working age in the country “is lower than the compulsory age, prompting some children to leave school before the end of their compulsory education”.

Meanwhile, the report also mentions that while there are laws that limit the number of hours children are allowed to work, it does not actively enforce these regulations or impose penalties on those who violate them. these laws.

The State Department pointed out that the country working child rescue program through the Ministry of Labor and Employment, it carried out nine operations from January to July last year in karaoke bars, massage parlours, saunas, bathhouses and farms.

The program rescued 18 miners from “unsafe and exploitative working conditions”.

He said most of the other cases reported to DOLE are related to child labor in domestic service and the agricultural sector, such as its fishing, palm oil and sugar cane industries.

Workers’ rights

Meanwhile, Washington said the Philippine government was also not actively enforcing minimum wage laws, noting that “violations of minimum wage standards were common.”

“Complaints about payment below minimum wage and non-payment of social security contributions and bonuses were especially common among companies in special economic zones,” the State Department said, also noting that the DOLE does not has no data on compliance with labor standards in these areas. areas.

Meanwhile, he also noted that employees in the Philippines were facing difficulties when trying to organize, noting that the Ministry of Interior and Local Government had ordered the submission of a list of members from two unions. , claiming they were part of the Communist Party.

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