Press Release
August 6, 2012

Senate ratifies convention on domestic workers

The Senate today approved on final reading a resolution which concurs in the ratification of an international treaty providing legal protection for Filipino domestic workers and to ensure them decent wages and benefits. Senate Resolution No. 816, or the Resolution Concurring in the Ratification of Convention 189, Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers, was approved on third reading with 20 votes, zero negative vote and zero abstention.

The senators who voted for the concurrence to the treaty were Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Senate Majority Floor Leader Tito Sotto, Senate Minority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Frank Drilon, Chiz Escudero, T.G. Guingona, Gringo Honasan, Ping Lacson, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Bongbong Marcos, Serge Osmenia, Koko Pimentel, Ralph Recto, Bong Revilla Jr., Sonny Trillanes and Manny Villar.

Enrile lauded the passage of the resolution, nothing that the Philippines sends a large number of domestic workers abroad annually.

"We need to protect our workers and ensure that their rights are well-protected, that they have access to services that are beneficial to them, that they are treated well and that they are protected from abuses," Enrile said.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and sponsor of the proposed measure, underscored the need to protect Filipino domestic workers who remain unprotected in countries that do not have friendly laws. "Through this Convention we can provide stronger protection and greater support to our local and migrant domestic workers because the International Labor Organization Convention 189 obliges ratifying states to provide decent working conditions, just compensation and sufficient benefits to domestic workers," Legarda explained.

Estrada, co-sponsor of the resolution, said its ratification would send a strong signal to the international community on the high priority that the Philippines is placing on the protection and promotion of the rights of domestic workers, including migrant workers.

Estrada, chairman of the Committee on Labor, authored and sponsored Senate Bill 78 which seeks to legislate minimum wage and to provide adequate benefits for "kasambahay" in the Philippines. The proposed legislation is currently pending in the House of Representatives.

According to Legarda, domestic workers who are mostly women and minors, account for the highest percentage of workers being deployed for work abroad, reaching more than 100,000 in 2010 alone.

"The time has come for all of us to acknowledge the contributions of our household heroes into the global workforce, no longer as invisible hands but as domestic workers, equipped with the rights and benefits accorded others," she concluded. (Pilar Macrohon, PRIB)

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