Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza expressed today her support for the workers of Bleustar Manufacturing Incorporated as she filed House Resolution 707 seeking to look into the implementation of the Anti-Sexual Harassment law of 1995.
“The experience of women workers in Bleustar Manufacturing Incorporated shows us the increasing vulnerability of women workers to gender violence and sexual harassment in the workplace as well as the toothlessness of existing sexual harassment laws,” said Maza.
Women workers of Bleustar Manufacturing Incorporated claimed that for almost every single day in the past 10 years, an extremely drunk factory owner, Mr. Jimmy Ong would make them fall in line at the gate, ask each of them to kiss him before they report for their posts at the sewing department. “It was disgusting but we had no choice. We risk losing our jobs,” said Gloria Bongon, vice chairperson of the Bleustar Workers Labor Union.
Bongon also recalled that Ong in 2006, called her over and asked her to touch his private parts. She pulled back and ran. “Most women workers would run to the comfort rooms or hide under the tables when Mr. Ong would arrive. We repeatedly complained about this but the management would tell us to just wash it off. Ipaligo nalang daw namin.”
Bleustar Manufacturing Incorporated is the maker of Advan rainboots and shoes and has 205 rank and file workers in its employ. 85% of workers in the 18 year old factory are women. “95% kung hindi man 100% ng mga kababaihan dito ay na-harass na ni Mr. Ong,” said Bongon.
“Their stories of horror should be enough to prod Congress to immediately act on laws for women workers’ protection, including House Bill 3704 or the Amendments to the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act,” said Maza
HB 3704 compels employers to adopt a comprehensive, detailed, written policy on sexual harassment and mandates a 48-hour deadline for the management to act on complaints against sexual harassment. It also seeks to expand the definition of sexual harassment to include those committed outside the workplace. #