Group welcomes Senate ratification of Convention on Domestic Workers

FILIPINO migrant domestic workers group in New York/NJ welcome, with cautious optimism, the Philippines’ Senate ratification of the International Labor Organization Domestic Workers Convention.

The Philippines is the second country internationally to ratify said convention which President Benigno Aquino III signed on May 18, 2012.

“We celebrate the Philippines’ ratification and will continue to campaign for all countries to ratify,” said Enecita Brodsky, Chairperson of DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association. “Domestic workers all over the world deserve the protection and the rights accorded to other workers.”

The international treaty protects domestic workers, ensures basic labor rights and includes specific provisions to address labor trafficking and domestic servitude. It sets an international standard and signifies a big step forward in recognizing the value of this labor force.

In its ten year existence, the group has witnessed grave abuses of Filipino women domestic workers, supporting and organizing migrant domestic workers who have endured a range of abuse, including low wages, long hours, verbal and physical abuse, lack of healthcare, lack of sick days or days off, trafficking and forced labor, especially inside the homes of diplomats with immunity.

As Board members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a United States-based alliance of over 35 domestic worker organizations around the country, DAMAYAN supported the international campaign for the ILO Convention, adopted in June 2011.

However, according to DAMAYAN, its passion for women migrant workers’ justice has not been matched by the Philippines consulates and embassies in New York and elsewhere, which should be providing help and protection to the migrant Filipino workers.

“We endorse this ratification and are hopeful that it signifies an actual change in the Phil. Government’s stance towards domestic workers, many of whom are overseas migrant workers,” says Linda Oalican, DAMAYAN’s Overall Coordinator. “At the same time, we are still seeing the implementation of the Labor Export Program, which continues to force women abroad and into the vulnerable domestic work industry and trafficking situations abroad. We hope that the Philippine President will end the large scale mining of foreign corporations in our country, put our government in control of our natural resources to create jobs, and stop forced migration.”

Brodsky said: “As historic as this day is for our campaign effort, we at DAMAYAN will keep a vigilant eye that the convention will be implemented.”

The group urged the Philippine Consulate in New York to implement tools provided by this important international treaty and looks forward to working with them to ensure that Filipino migrant domestic workers in the area benefit from this historic ratification.

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