Press Release
December 2, 2019


In marking the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, let us open our eyes to the injustice and atrocities of forced labor and human trafficking that prey upon our most vulnerable particularly the women, children and poor. Perpetrators of slavery not only violate labor rights, but assault our collective humanity and dignity.

We need to be vigilant in looking out for those who might be held in bondage due to poverty and discrimination. I recall the separate stories of Nanay Fedelina and Lola Pulido who worked for decades without pay as household helpers, even long after the respective families that enslaved them have migrated to the United States. The former was only freed last year after 37 years, while the latter passed away a slave for 56 years to a family that spanned several generations.

Alongside making the abusers accountable under Philippine laws, we should also uphold our international obligations as among the over 170 countries in the world that have ratified two international treaties on the abolition of forced labor.

As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, I vow to continue advocating for the rights and interests of our farmers, fisherfolk and industrial workers so they will no longer be exploited into doing backbreaking work for meager to almost no pay.

Moreover, no child should have to drop out of school to work in farms or factories under often dangerous conditions because of poverty. No girl should be forced into marriage due to economic constraints. No one should be illegally recruited into demeaning work, just like Nanay Fedelina and Lola Pulido whose rights were infringed upon for the personal comfort of others.

I call on the Filipino people and all the people of goodwill, let us fulfill our shared obligation to put an end to the scourges of modern slavery that take on many forms, including sex trafficking, debt bondage and child labor. Let us build a community that is truly free from inequality and injustice.


PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame

2 December 2019

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