Press Release
August 14, 2012

Legarda: Phl Should Lead Global Campaign
for Protection of Domestic Workers;

Encourage Receiving States to Ratify ILO Convention 189

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the Philippines should lead the global campaign for the protection of domestic workers, especially those working in foreign nations, by encouraging receiving states of Filipino domestic workers to ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 189, the Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and sponsor of Senate Resolution No. 816 that pushed for the ratification of the Convention, said that it is imperative for the Philippines, as a country with 1.5 million Filipinos working as domestic workers abroad, to champion the causes of these workers.

"The Philippines' ratification of ILO Convention 189 will pave the way for the treaty's entry into force, but we have to do even more by encouraging other states, especially those with high concentration of Filipino domestic workers, to ratify the Convention. This treaty will strengthen our resolve and leverage in negotiating for stronger protection and better terms and conditions of employment of our kasambahays," she pointed out.

The Senator explained that ILO Convention 189 will enter into force 12 months after at least two nations have completed their ratification process. The Philippines is the second nation to complete the process of ratification following Uruguay.

She added that 369 ILO member states adopted the Convention. Among these countries are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Syria--countries that have the most number of Filipino domestic workers.

"ILO Convention 189 is the manifesto that every domestic worker deserves and longs for. It is an international instrument that declares domestic work not as a favor to be granted but as an occupation to be protected. This Convention unveils the universal rights of domestic workers," Legarda stressed.

She added that the Convention, which will also benefit the 1.9 million kasambahays in the country, directs ILO member states to take measures that will ensure that all domestic workers are informed of the terms and conditions of their employment, including salary, time of work and rest, provision of food and shelter, and vacation. For migrant domestic workers, it should include the date when the contract ends.

"The Philippines must be at the forefront of the global campaign for the ratification of ILO Convention 189. We must do this for the sake of more than three million Filipino domestic workers both here and abroad who all wish to be recognized as legitimate workers, not slaves, and be accorded decent working conditions, just compensation and sufficient benefits," Legarda concluded.

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