Philippine Standard time

COVID-19-related Discrimination of Workers in the Mactan Export Processing Zone during the Pandemic

The research examined the covid-related discrimination suffered by low-wage, mostly women, garment workers in three factories at the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews were utilized in the study. Using the lens of equality and non-discrimination, the research revealed that workers were victims of covid-related discrimination. Thirteen types of covid-related discrimination suffered by workers were found in the study. Among these are pregnancy, health status, freedom of association, harassment by State authorities, harassment by company management and theft of workers’ benefits. The number and kinds of discrimination that were uncovered in the research suggests that discrimination was widespread and severe during the pandemic, specifically among garment workers in MEPZ and workers in the Philippines generally. The study proposes a set of specific steps to remediate the discrimination endured by garment workers.


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