THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have signed the Peza–PNP Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (Jipco) to address security issues and to maintain industrial peace inside ecozones.
The signing of the IRR between the Peza and PNP aims to contribute to providing a safe and globally competitive business environment in economic and freeport zones.
“We are grateful to PNP’s leadership in sharing with us our cherished mandate and value to uphold the rights of Filipino workers or labor and uphold environmental laws — two of which are the non-negotiables in Peza’s regulation of industries,” Peza Director Charito Plaza said in a statement.
“I am confident that investments in the economic zones will be secured and maintained as it continues to prosper, thus, producing more jobs and generating investments, and economic growth for Filipinos,” she added.
On March 26, 2018, the Peza and PNP signed a memorandum of agreement to strengthen their partnership for change and development through the creation of the Peza-PNP Jipco.
Under the IRR, the Peza-PNP Jipco will create teams to be assigned, including female police officers to address security issues and cater to complaints, queries and other concerns in the workplace with the goal of promoting industrial peace and respect for the rights of labor and management towards achieving a more conducive business environment in the ecozones.
Highlighted under the agreement is the task of the PNP to strictly observe police operational procedures. Respect for human rights shall be paramount at all times.
The partnership will also enable training focused on police relations, crisis resiliency, civilian resistance, and seminars on improvised explosive device awareness, bomb threats management, and other related life-saving techniques.
Moreover, the IRR signing will enable the Peza Police Force to craft and implement crime prevention measures, crisis control, and contingency plans in public and private economic zones.
Meanwhile, labor group Partidong Manggagawa (PM) slammed the Jipco IRR, saying that the move would mean further militarization of ecozones, harassment of labor unionists and escalation of the union busting efforts.
“As far as workers are concerned, the presence of police in the ecozones has been to harass labor protests, disperse picketlines and arrest organizers,” Rene Magtubo, PM national chair, said.
PM, a member of the country’s biggest labor coalition Nagkaisa!, had earlier demanded from the PNP and Peza to withdraw the program and for the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) to enforce labor laws in ecozones, educate officials of the bureaucracy and security forces on labor rights, and prosecute the violators whether they are state officials or owners of capital.
“Jipco is hiding under the cover of peace building efforts, but in reality it is a declaration of war against the trade union movement in the country. But we will not be cowed and we will continue to organize.” (JOB)