No guarantee of rights

Same as last year

The Philippines is one of the 10 worst countries in the world for working people

  • Violence and murders

  • Arrests during strikes

  • State repression

Workers and their representatives in the Philippines remained particularly vulnerable to violent attacks, intimidation and arbitrary arrests. Trade unionists, maliciously red-tagged by President Duterte, remained under immediate threat of the police and the army, which conducted targeted raids against them. Over 50 trade unionists have been killed since President Duterte came to power in 2016.

Workers' rights violations

Right to trade union activities

On 2 November 2021, persons claiming to be members of the Quezon City Police Department went to the national office of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) in Manila to supposedly investigate a labour dispute involving its affiliate, the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions (FCCU). The FCCU is engaged in a labour dispute at Coca-Cola Philippines over deadlocked wage bargaining and a national campaign for the reinstatement of unfairly terminated union leaders.

The individuals had no legal documents officially identifying and authorising them or stating the purpose of their visit. They repeatedly asked for information regarding SENTRO’s office, the other unions present there, and their activities. The so-called police officers also went to the premises of the Trade Union Confederation of the Philippines (TUCP) compound in Quezon City. They inquired about the NAGKAISA Labour Coalition, of which SENTRO is a part.


In the Philippines, thirty-five-year old trade union leader Dandy Miguel, chairman of the PAMANTIK-Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), was killed on 28 March 2021 in Calamba while on his way home on his motorcycle. Dandy Miguel was also president of Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Fuji Electric and a member of the National Council of KMU. Dandy Miguel was shot eight times by unknown assassins. Not long before he was murdered, Dandy had lodged a complaint with the Commission of Human Rights about the extrajudicial killings of nine labour and NGO activists on 7 March, also called Bloody Sunday, in Calabarzon. The Bloody Sunday killings happened after President Duterte openly called on security forces to gun down communists if they carried guns.

Right to justice

In the Philippines, Rosanilla Consad, union secretary of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) for Region XIII and assistant vice principal of San Vicente National High School, was arrested on a fabricated charge of attempted homicide in April 2021. Subjected to interrogation without her legal counsel, she was presented in a press conference as a “high ranking” official of the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Prosecution of union leaders for participating in strikes

Forty-four employees of a pasta-making company in the Philippines, Soft Touch Development Corp., were arrested on 15 December 2021 for going on strike. They were charged with illegal assembly, disobedience to a person in authority and “alarm and scandal”. They were released from jail after 36 hours, pending further investigation. The firm maintained that the employees were prohibited from forming a trade union because their employer was the manpower agency that hired them. The strike was called after workers learned they would be laid off on 24 December. It was brutally repressed by the police, who used water cannons and truncheons on the strikers, dragging them into a police van.

The Philippines is one of the worst countries for working people. Over 50 trade unionists have been killed since President Duterte came to power in 2016.Ted Aljibe / AFP

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