Oct 042014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/09/09MANILA2002.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA2002
2009-09-18 10:25
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO8853
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2002/01 2611025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181025Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5229
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 2281
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002002

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE PLEASE PASS USTR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PHUM PGOV RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINES PREPARES FOR ILO HIGH-LEVEL MISSION ON LABOR RIGHTS

REF: A. 08 STATE 90849 (PHILIPPINES GSP PETITION:
REQUEST FOR INTERIM DEMARCHE)
¶B. 08 MANILA 1709 (AMBASSADOR ENGAGES FOREIGN
SECRETARY)

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Philippine government is prepared to
welcome and provide its full support to next week’s
High-Level Mission from the International Labour
Organisation’s (ILO) Geneva headquarters to investigate
allegations of labor rights abuses as well as eight ongoing
complaints filed with the ILO. Senior officials at the
Department of Labor and Employment told the Embassy September
18 that they had successfully arranged meetings for the ILO
with key agencies, offices, and committees in all three
branches of government, including the Philippine Economic
Zone Authority, and were prepared to fully cooperate and
receive the ILO’s recommendations. Noting that a
preponderance of the ILO Mission’s schedule was dedicated to
meeting nongovernmental and labor groups, some of which are
highly critical of the government, the officials expressed
concern the ILO would be predisposed to give less credence to
the government’s views or would have an unrealistic
expectation for progress on any proposed legislative reforms
— which could be difficult given the tight end-of-year
congressional calendar and the approaching May 2010 general
elections. Nonetheless, Philippine officials said they were
determined to make the most of the ILO’s visit, and would
take advantage of the ILO’s offer to lead a symposium on
labor standards at the visit’s conclusion. End Summary.

COMMITTED TO A SUCCESSFUL VISIT
——————————-

¶2. (SBU) Undersecretaries at the Philippine Department of
Labor and Employment (DOLE) in a September 18 meeting with us
expressed their full support for the September 22-29
High-Level Mission from the International Labour
Organisation’s (ILO) Geneva headquarters to investigate
allegations of labor rights abuses as well as eight ongoing
complaints filed with the ILO. The first day of the
three-member ILO team’s visit, they explained, will include a
meeting with Presidential Executive Secretary and Chairman of
the Presidential Human Rights Committee Eduardo Ermita, as
well as a multiagency meeting featuring Cabinet-level and
other senior officials from the Department of Interior and
Local Government, the Philippine National Police, the Armed
Forces of the Philippines, and many others. Despite DOLE’s
concerns earlier this year about being able to arrange
meetings with the fiercely independent legislative and
judicial branches, DOLE officials confirmed that the ILO will
meet the chairs of both House and Senate labor committees as
well as Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno. DOLE will
also facilitate visits to factories in the metro-Manila
region in Tarlac and Laguna provinces, in cooperation with
the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

GOVERNMENT’S MESSAGE COULD BE DROWNED-OUT
—————————————–

¶3. (SBU) With a preponderance of the ILO’s meetings scheduled
with labor unions, human rights groups, and some
organizations known to harbor strong views against the
government, the DOLE officials expressed concern that the ILO
would be predisposed to hearing negative messages and could
therefore be less inclined to give credit to the government’s
opinions and achievements. They also expressed concern about
the potential for unrealistic expectations that the
Philippine government could take immediate action on the
ILO’s recommendations for new legislation — which would be
extremely challenging in view of the October recess in
Congress and the politically charged atmosphere surrounding
the May 2010 general elections. Still, even if they did not
have an opportunity to fully explain their views and
concerns, the officials assured that they were committed to
listening to the ILO’s comments.

AT END OF VISIT, TRAINING AND DEBRIEFING
—————————————-

¶4. (SBU) DOLE officials said they looked forward to the
two-day international symposium on labor standards at the end
of the ILO Mission’s visit, noting that it would provide
quality training for DOLE’s labor officers. DOLE’s scheduled
debrief with the ILO, they said, will be a useful cap on the
week-long visit, enabling them to understand what type of
recommendations the ILO might include in their final report.
The officials said that they looked forward to reading the
conclusions from the ILO Mission’s report and to finding ways

MANILA 00002002 002 OF 002

they could work with the ILO to address the concerns that are
raised.

KENNEY

   

 

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