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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Local, overseas recruitment agencies express support to Decent Work Convention

Representatives of the country's local and overseas recruitment industries yesterday expressed support for the immediate ratification of the ILO's Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers, or C 189, and said they are one with the government in pushing efforts to uplift the conditions and ensure decent work for kasambahays or domestic workers.

Victor Fernandez, president of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI) and Captain Lou H. Atienza, president of Interglobe Manpower and Consultancy Services who represented the Overseas Placement Association of the Philippines (OPAP) collectively expressed the sectoral support during the DOLE-organized forum, "Marangal na Hanapbuhay para sa Kasambahay: A Forum on ILO Convention 189", held at the Bayleaf in Intramuros, Manila last week.

"In supporting efforts for the ratification of C 189, we are pushing for the realization through strong regulation and implementation of laws that protect our domestic workers. We are also pushing for the Philippines to pursue bilateral arrangements with migrant-receiving countries in ensuring the protection and welfare of our household service workers worldwide," said Fernandez.

Labor Undersecretary for Labor Relations Hans Leo G. Cacdac, who represented Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz at the forum, hailed the sectors for the expression of support.

Baldoz earlier noted that no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III, in his State of the Nation Address, has certified the need for a law protecting the country's disadvantaged domestic workers as an urgent national priority.

"The pronouncement is consistent with President Aquino III's aim in his 22-point labor and employment agenda to strengthen the employment, welfare, and conditions of all Filipino workers in an atmosphere of social justice and industrial peace," Baldoz said.

It was Baldoz who, in her capacity as the Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, had led in 2007 efforts to ensure the uplift of Filipino domestic workers under the POEA's Reform Package for Household Service Workers.

Citing that the Philippines had been instrumental in the adoption of the new ILO Convention at the 100th International Labor Conference in June this year, Baldoz said
C 189 sets forth the minimum standards for the employment of an estimated 53 to 100 million domestic workers worldwide and the more than 1.9 million working in local households in the Philippines.

Cacdac said the forum for local and overseas recruitment agencies is one of several consultative activities to elicit support for the ratification of the Covention.

"We are holding a series of island-wide consultations with the tripartite sectors, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in order to secure support for the ratification of Convention 189," Cacdac said.

"The consultations would generate from all pertinent sectors important inputs and feedbacks that would enable the legislative branch to craft a national law on the kasambahays in line with the global

minimum standards set forth under the new ILO instrument," he added.

At the forum, Ms. Amy King-Dejardin, Chief Technical Adviser for Domestic Workers of the Conditions of Work and Employment Programme, Social Protection Sector, of the ILO, said she satisfied with the progress of the Philippines's efforts to ratify C 189.

Director Ma. Criselda R. Sy of the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) cited the unity and cooperation of the local recruitment industry and other stakeholders in understanding and pushing forward the ratification of Convention 189. It was the BLE which, together with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, co-organized the forum.

POEA Administrator Carlos S. Cao, Jr. also commended the participation of licensed overseas recruitment agencies in the goal of the Philippines "put into flesh a national law protecting domestic workers," and make the Philippines one of the first two countries in the world to ratify C 189. Cao cited the positive development in Saudi Arabia which, he said, has indicated to craft legislation that would strengthen the protection of overseas Filipino workers, including household service workers, in that country.

DOLE-National Capital Region Director Raymundo G. Agravante, on the other hand, cited that in the light of existing labor laws, the DOLE would continue to ensure and implement the enforcement powers necessary to protect and ensure the conditions and welfare of workers engaged in domestic work.

Other officials who participated in the forum were Institute for Labor Studies Deputy Executive Director Katherine B. Brimon, presented the "Policy and Program Responses for Domestic Workers in the Philippines and the DOLE Action Plan on the Ratification of C189"; Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics Director Maria Teresa V. Peralta, who provided a statistical overview on domestic workers in the Philippines; POEA Planning Branch officer-in-charge Director Mona Quijano who gave a profile on overseas household service workers; and ILO Country Office for the Philippines Senior Programme Assistant Dianne Respall who gave an overview on international labor standards.


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