Press Release
September 9, 2013

Jinggoy says ILO Convention 189, Kasambahay law 'twin towers'
of positive policies for domestic workers

Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada has lauded the coming into force of the Convention on Domestic Workers (International Labor Organization Convention 189), referring to it and the Philippines' Batas Kasambahay (Republic Act 10361) as the 'twin towers' of positive policies for household helpers.

The ILO has announced the coming into effect of Convention 189, formally known as the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Domestic Workers, starting September 5, 2013.

The Convention was adopted by the ILO General Conference on June 16, 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland. As per its Article 21, it would come into force twelve months after the date on which it was ratified by at least two ILO member-states.

The Philippines completed the ratification process on August 6, 2012 and became the second member-state to ratify the Convention, triggering its coming into force. The resolution for the ratification was co-sponsored by Estrada as chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.

Batas Kasambahay, principally authored by Estrada, was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III on January 2013.

The ILO said there were at least 53 million domestic workers worldwide, 83 percent of whom were women and about 10.5 million were children. Estrada meanwhile said there were some 1.9 million kasambahay in the Philippines, and hundreds of thousands more employed overseas.

Convention 189 provides, among others, the following: - promotion and protection of the human rights of all domestic workers; - respect, promotion and realization of fundamental principles and rights at work for domestic workers, namely: freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; and elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor, child labor and discrimination; - protection against all forms of abuse, harassment and violence; - fair terms of employment; and - decent working conditions.

Batas Kasambahay, for its part, states the following, among others: - upholding of the rights and dignity of household workers; - ample protection; - use of a formal contract to govern employer-employee relationship; - realistic minimum wage that is regularly adjusted in accordance with rising cost of living; and - provision of other benefits such as membership in SSS, Philhealth and PAG-IBIG.

Estrada said, "We may refer to Convention 189 and the Batas Kasambahay as the 'twin towers' of positive policies for domestic workers as these legal instruments embody, define and guarantee the rights of household helpers and set the standards that should guide governments and societies in general in treating these workers and addressing their concerns."

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