We, the organisations named below, make this statement to express our serious alarm about the widespread arbitrary arrests of children taking place throughout the Philippines under the ‘Oplan Tambay’ project of the Philippine government.
We note that President Duterte issued a directive that children found loitering be arrested for their protection, even if they have not committed any crime.(1) We further note that in the execution of Oplan Tambay in Cebu Province, minors violating curfew ordinances have been the largest group arrested.(2) We note that in the City of Manila, there is a drive to achieve ‘zero street children’ which is leading to large numbers of children being arbitrarily removed from public spaces.(3)
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) is one with the working class in commemorating Labor Day. We add our voices in solidarity with the toiling masses specifically in demanding for the end of contractualization in the country and the respect, protection and fulfilment of workers’ rights.
The Duterte administration’s failure to end contractualization after almost two years in power, reveals even more its inability to heed the sentiments of the workers, to protect their rights and promote their interests. Its pronouncements have been mere rhetoric, devoid of sincerity and substance. Its commitment to advancing the right to decent work and to just and favourable working conditions remains to be empty promises as illustrated by the national government’s rejection of labour –related recommendations during the 3rd cycle of the Universal Period Review in 2017. These include its refusal and/or lack of political will to end contractualization, implement a national minimum wage, address gender wage gap, and sexual harassment of women in the workplace.