Press Release
June 14, 2012

Legarda Expresses Strong Commitment to ILO Convention
for Domestic Workers

Senator Loren Legarda today expressed strong commitment to the Philippines' ratification of International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 189, also known as the Decent Work for Domestic Workers' Convention.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that ILO Convention No. 189 is an international instrument that declares domestic work not as a favor to be granted but as an occupation to be protected. It further details the universal rights of all domestic workers including those working overseas.

The Convention was adopted by the General Conference of the ILO in June 16, 2011 and was signed by President Benigno Aquino III last May 18, 2012. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last June 6.

"ILO Convention No. 189 encourages its signatories to set standards for employment agencies recruiting or placing domestic workers, in accordance with national laws, regulations and practice. It also directs ratifying states to consider entering into bilateral, regional or multilateral agreements to prevent abuses and fraudulent practices in recruitment, placement, and employment of domestic workers," Legarda explained.

The Senator has long espoused a measure that seeks to promote the rights and protect the welfare of kasambahays. When the 15th Congress opened its 1st regular session in July 2010, she filed Senate Bill No. 7 which aims to provide additional benefits for household helpers. Today, she reiterated her unwavering support for domestic workers during the Senate Committee Hearing on Foreign Relations which tackled ILO Convention No. 189.

"Once the Convention is enacted, domestic workers will finally be able to legally ask for contracts describing their wage, work hours, days off, and other work terms and conditions, and the will be able to ask for minimum wage," she stressed.

She also expressed hope that the Philippines will be the first in Asia to register its ratification of the Convention especially that approximately 3.4 million Filipinos, mostly women, are employed as domestic workers in the country and overseas.

"The time has come for all of us to acknowledge the contributions of our household heroes into the global workforce. Once the Senate concurs in the ratification of this Convention and it enters into force, we will be able to ensure that our domestic workers will be equipped with the rights and benefits accorded to other workers," Legarda concluded.

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