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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ILO official cites PH efforts in protecting domestic workers

Amy King-Dejardin, Chief Technical Adviser for Domestic Workers of the International Labor Organization's Conditions of Work and Employment Programme, Social Protection Sector, has cited Philippines on-going efforts to ratify ILO Convention 189, saying the country serves as a shining light in the global initiative to ensure minimum standards and uplift one of the world's most disadvantaged workers.

"We at the ILO are happy and satisfied with the way the Philippines is setting the example, not only in protecting and ensuring the welfare of its own domestic workers, but in exerting effort to be one of the first two states in the world required to ratify and give global effect to ILO Convention 189," King-Dejardin said during the recent DOLE-organized forum, "Marangal na Hanapbuhay para sa Kasambahay: A Forum on ILO Convention 189" held at the Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros, Manila.

The forum was part of the DOLE's advocacy campaign for the ratification of C 189 and was held primarily for local and overseas employment agencies.

In her message at the forum, King-Dejardin lamented the fact that while Asia and the Middle East accounts for some 41 percent of the world's estimated 53 to 100 million domestic workers, the region is not able to protect them.

In contrast, the ILO official pointed out that Latin America has striven to cover 45 percent of its domestic workers with minimum wage laws, while only five percent of the world's lowliest paid workers are similarly covered in the Asia-Middle East region.

But she also cited similar efforts of some labor receiving countries, particularly Lebanon, to craft a law protecting foreign domestic workers under clear terms. "Even China has recognized the effort to provide dignified, decent work to domestic workers, in the process linking up with its own private recruitment and placement agencies," she said.

C 189, adopted overwhelmingly in June during the 100th International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland together with Recommendation 201 sets new international labor standards in the employment of domestic workers.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz, who headed the Philippine delegation to the conference, had said the adoption of C 189 was a victory for global social justice and had urged for its immediate ratification.

Baldoz said that the Philippines efforts to craft a national law in harmony with Convention 189 speak of the inclusive growth strategy of President Benigno S. Aquino III which calls for massive job creation and economic growth so that "no one is left behind".

"The Philippines should demonstrate its leading role in achieving social justice and uplifting the plight of domestic workers by ratifying the Convention," she said, adding that the Convention, once it takes effect, would effectively cover the estimated 1.93 million Filipino domestic workers working in local households and 100,000 household service workers in many countries overseas.


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