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PH needs to ratify ILO convention on domestic workers

/ 01:08 AM July 22, 2012

The Philippines needs to quickly ratify an international convention on decent work for domestic workers to strengthen its voice in the global fight for migrant rights, according to Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA) Chief Hans Cacdac .

Cacdac, speaking at the launch of a new campaign to amend and strengthen the country’s own laws to protect domestic helpers, called on Congress to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189, giving househelp the same rights as other regular workers. It also needs to pass the Kasambahay Bill which would ensure that over two million local domestic workers get minimum wages, weekly days off, protection from abuse and benefits such as social security, Pag-Ibig housing membership and PhilHealth insurance.

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ILO Convention 189 was adopted on June 16, 2011. Uruguay was the first country to ratify it. Cacdac said he had hoped the Philippines would be the first but is now urging that it be “at least the second.”

“Ratification of ILO Convention 189 will ‘give us the legal and moral foundation to lead,’” said Cacdac, noting that the Philippines was currently engaging nations in the Middle East and other parts of the world to enhance protection for migrant workers.

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The ILO convention will be the “benchmark” for the country’s bilateral and multilateral campaign to stem abuses against migrant domestics, said Cacdac.

The Philippine Migrant Rights Watch (PMRW) sponsored the campaign launch at the Manila Manor hotel on Thursday which drew the participation of the POEA, the local Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawang Pantahanan sa Pilipinas (Sumapi), the Ople Policy Center, the Scalabrini Migration Center, the Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Jordan (Pamajor), and other academic and religious organizations concerned with migrant workers’ rights. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III attended the launch and assured advocates of his legislative support.

Cacdac, in this remark, noted that the deployment of domestics reached an all time high last year, with over 142,000 workers, mostly women.

PMRW president Mel Nuqui said she hoped President Aquino would take note of this in his State of the Nation Address and make it a priority concern of his administration. Monica Feria

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TAGS: Domestic workers, ILO, Migration, OFW, rights
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