Category Archives: 2024 Philippines

Philippines: Filipino workers mark #IWMD24, assert that ‘safe work builds better’ – BWI, ALU-TUCP, BUBCW, PTGWO-TUCP & Panday-Buhay Workers’ Association

Close to 200 Filipino workers gathered today to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day under the theme: “Enough is Enough.” The joint event brought together BWI Philippine Affiliates, including the Associated Labor Union (ALU-TUCP), the National Union of Building and Construction Workers (NUBCW), the Philippine Trade and General Workers’ Organisation (PTGWO-TUCP), as well as the Panday-Buhay Workers’ Association of the Habitat for Humanity.
As candles were lit in honour of workers who lost their lives at work, the trade unionists trooped to the Occupational Safety and Health Center. Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI, emphasised that one workplace accident is one too many already, reiterating the urgent need to advocate against wrong and unsafe practices in the construction industry. “The government’s advocacy is ‘Build Build Build,’ but it seems safety is being overlooked. Perhaps a better slogan would be ‘Safe Work, Build Better,'” he stated.
Dave Noonan, BWI Vice President for the Asia Pacific, shared his personal journey as a former construction worker, urging Filipino workers to fight for their rights.
Other BWI global leaders, such as Patrick Vandenberghe and Thomas Janson, underscored the importance of understanding rights, acknowledging the risks posed by the climate crisis, and intensifying advocacy efforts.

Asia Pacific: Across Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Cambodia, BWI Affiliates unite in commemorating International Workers’ Memorial Day.

Asia Pacific/Philippines: On April 28 Fishworkers Solidarity remembers commercial tuna fishing workers lost at sea

On International Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28, the IUF-affiliated Fishworkers Solidarity, a member organization of SENTRO, remembered the commercial tuna fishing vessel workers who died or who were “lost” at sea and remain unaccounted for.

Among those remembered on April 28, were workers on tuna fishing vessels who died at sea but whose death was not considered a workplace death. This includes Perfect Aldo who died onboard on January 10, 2020, Arnel Abada who died at sea from pneumonia on June 12, 2021, and Noneto Romero who died onboard from cardiac arrest on November 5, 2022.

Perfect Aldo died onboard the tuna fishing vessel on January 10, 2020

Tuna fishworker, Arnel Abada, died at sea from pneumonia on June 12, 2021

Also remembered are those that the commercial tuna industry and authorities simply declare as “missing” at sea. This includes Gerir Rulete, missing since September 3, 2014. After a decade his family still cannot find peace and his death has not been recognized as work-related.

Tuna fishworker Gerir Rulete, “missing” since September 3, 2014

Warren Poncardas has been “missing” since August 21, 2003.  After 21 years his family too cannot find peace. This is another death while working that is not officially work-related.

The families of Roger Maglasang, Carlos Dejillo, Marvin Villaroya, Ricky Longgarit, and Roy Maglasang were all told that their husbands, fathers, brothers were missing at sea on August 24, 2003. Twenty-one years later, they remain unable to bury their loved ones; unable to declare them dead. As a result, their families are denied the certainty – the truth – that they died while working at sea. They are also denied the insurance they are entitled to for the work-related deaths of their loved ones.

Along with Gerir Rulete and Warren Poncardas, Roger Maglasang, Carlos Dejillo, Marvin Villaroya, Ricky Longgarit, and Roy Maglasangare are among the Unknown Workers killed and forgotten by an irresponsible and reckless commercial tuna industry.

On April 28, Fishworkers Solidarity called for urgent action by the government, employers and the commercial fishing industry to take responsibility for the health and safety of fishworkers throughout the tuna industry and to save lives.

The full text of the statement is below:

Fishworkers’ Solidarity Stands United on International Workers’ Memorial Day: Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living

International Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April 2024 

Fishworkers’ Solidarity reaffirms its commitment to honoring the memories of those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of their livelihoods, while steadfastly advocating for the safety and well-being of all workers in the fishing industry.

This solemn day serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by countless individuals who have tragically lost their lives due to occupational hazards and unsafe working conditions. From treacherous waters to inadequate safety measures, fishworkers often face perilous situations in their daily endeavors to provide sustenance for communities worldwide.

Today we remember the countless number of fishworkers who were lost out in the sea and remain “missing”. This year alone, we have identified at least 8 fishworkers who are considered “missing”, and that’s just for General Santos and the Saranggani Bay area alone. One wonders, do our government even keep track of these things?

We stand in solidarity with those who continue to endure hazardous working environments and demand accountability from stakeholders responsible for ensuring workplace safety. With the guiding principle of “Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living,” Fishworkers’ Solidarity underscores the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to prioritize the safety and rights of fishworkers everywhere.

This International Workers’ Memorial Day, Fishworkers’ Solidarity calls upon governments, employers, and industry leaders to:

Fully realize the our aspiration for “responsible fisheries and sustainable development” by enhancing the full participation of fishworkers in the whole decision-making process related to fishery resources.

Stop all proposals to amend the Fisheries Code and instead focus all government resources, including that of the non-government sector, on the a whole-of-government, full and effective implementation of the present provisions of the amended Fisheries Code to address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing including the full implementation of the vessel monitoring system, with data provided to local governments and enforcement agencies.

Enhance safety regulations and enforce stringent measures to prevent accidents and fatalities in the fishing industry.

Provide adequate training, resources, and protective gear to empower fishworkers to carry out their duties safely.

Foster collaborative initiatives between stakeholders to address systemic issues and promote a culture of safety and respect within the industry.

Recognize the invaluable contributions of fishworkers to global food security and uphold their fundamental rights to fair wages, decent working conditions, and social protection.

Together, let us honor the memory of those we have lost by advocating for meaningful change and ensuring that no worker faces unnecessary risks in the pursuit of their livelihood.

Fishworkers’ Solidarity remains unwavering in our commitment to safeguarding the lives and dignity of all fishworkers, today and always.

Through collective action and advocacy efforts, we strive to address the challenges facing fishworkers and promote sustainable practices in the fishing industry. Join us in our mission to create a safer and more equitable future for all fishworkers.

Philippines: Workplace safety group urges labor department action to protect workers from extreme heat – IOHSAD

“On this International Workers’ Memorial Day, amid record high temperatures, the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD), a workplace safety NGO, is calling upon the Labor Department to take decisive action to protect workers’ health and safety in the face of intensifying heat conditions.” more

Philippines: NUBCW inspecting workplaces to assess safety for 28 April

NUBCW and BWI  will be holding jointly International Workers Memorial Day Celebrations (IWMD) with Philippine Affiliates in Quezon City. Additionally there will be a joint inspection with BWI of the Asian development bank’s Malalos Clark railway project focusing on worker safety with specific focus on heat stress.