Migrants group urges Loren, PNoy to ratify convention for DH

GLOBAL alliance of overseas Filipino workers urged the Philippine Senate and the President Benigno Aquino III to ratify with haste International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189 or the Decent Work for Domestic Workers’ Convention.

The Convention needs at least two countries to ratify it before the deadline this coming end of July. If ratified by the Philippine Senate, the Philippine government will be the second country to have ratified it, after Uruguay, allowing for its official taking into force.

“Both the Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and President Aquino had mentioned strong commitment to the ratification of the Convention 189. It is now only a matter of weeks and we call on them to ensure the Philippines’ ratification before the deadlines ends this July,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International Chairperson.

Migrante International, together with representatives from different migrant organizations in the Asia Pacific which are all members of the regional coalition United for Foreign Domestic Worker Rights (UFDWR), recently concluded series of lobbying efforts with different embassies based in the Philippines for the ratification of Convention 189. In a span of one week, they were able to hold dialogues with the British, Sri Lankan, Venezuelan and Norwegian embassies.

“The embassies were generally supportive of our campaign and we hope that this would help in raising awareness on the plight and rights of foreign domestic workers in sending and receiving countries,” Martinez said. He said that the lobbying efforts are part of an ongoing regional campaign for the ratification of Convention 189.

In line with this, Migrante International had also set-up an online petition at http://www.change.org/ph/mga-petisyon/senate-of-the-philippines-philippine-president-benigno-aquino-iii-ratify-ilo-convention-189-decent-work-for-domestic-workers-now to gather signatures and support for the Philippine ratification of Convention 189. Signatures will be submitted to Sen. Legarda.

The ILO Committee on Domestic Workers adopted the Convention last July 2011, recognizing domestic work as work and bestowing upon domestic workers equal rights and recognition as other workers – including the enforcement of minimum wage, regular working hours and holidays, provision of health and other benefits and the right to organize and form unions.

ILO’s adoption of the Convention was considered a milestone by Migrante International – a product of long years of hard-fought struggle to secure the rights of domestic workers.  In 2010, the number of Filipino domestic workers deployed were 154,535 which accounted for 45% of deploys for that year, according to government statistics. Remittances of Filipino domestic workers are therefore a significant portion of the total number of total remittances that support the Philippine economy.

“There is no time to waste. The clock is ticking. Foreign domestic workers and Filipino migrant workers all over the world will take the Philippine government to task if the Convention is not ratified in time. The rights and welfare of our Filipino domestic workers are at stake,” the migrant leader said.


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