This is the contention of Donald Dee, president of the Confederation of Garment
Exporters of the Philippines (Congep), in reaction to the special report that the Inquirer
ran last week on the inhumane working conditions at Anvil Ensembles, a garments
factory in the eastern town of Taytay, Rizal province.
Dee, also president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, said Anvil was not
a member of Congep. Nevertheless, he said, the Inquirer report could taint the image of
the entire garments industry that was contributing about three billion dollars in revenue
every year, and cause the displacement of an estimated 400,000 workers.
"If there are cases like [Anvil's], the media should remember that our major customers
[abroad] could pick up the story, and this could make them drop their orders. That is why
I am reacting this way..." an annoyed Dee said in an interview.
He added: "Can you imagine the economic impact and [possible] dislocation you have caused, just because of this one small export company whose revenue is insignificant compared with what the whole industry [contributes]?"
Dee also said that key players in the local garments export industry were in fact the first
members of the Responsible Apparel Production (RAP) program, an international
memorandum of cooperation promoting decent work practices and humane working
He said the Inquirer should have considered the moves of the private sector and the
Department of Trade and Industry before running the special report, to avoid creating a
negative impression of the local garments industry.
The Inquirer report detailed the Anvil workers' complaints on overtime, underpayment and unsanitary working conditions, as well as the alleged offer to them of the insomnia- inducing drug Duromine to keep them awake during peak-season 48- to 72-hour work shifts.
The Department of Labor and Employment, through regional director Maximo Lim, on
Friday accused Anvil of violating labor laws and standards and ordered it to pay 137
workers a total of 5.8 million pesos in back wages and unpaid benefits within 10 days.
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