Migrante welcomes PH ratification of ILO Convention on Domestic Work

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today welcomed the Philippine government’s ratification of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention on Domestic Work.

The Philippine government is the second country to have ratified said Convention, after Uruguay, allowing for its official taking into force. The Convention needed at least two countries to ratify it before the deadline this coming June.

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.

Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez hailed the Convention’s ratification as a triumph of Filipino domestic workers all over the world. However, he said that this is just a small opening and that the struggle to attain equal rights and protection for domestic workers, including migrant domestic workers is still a long way to go.

“The bigger challenge now is how to push States, especially migrant-receiving countries, to also ratify the Convention and institute national legal frameworks to enforce its provisions,” Martinez said.

He also noted that the passage of a local legislation recognizing domestic work as work would still be an uphill battle. The first Kasambahay Bill was proposed 10 years ago and is yet to be passed into law. In the subsequent 10 years, the number of DW in the Philippines has increased to 1.93 – 2.5 million.

“We hail this victory but the struggle continues. As the global alliance of progressive organizations of migrant Filipinos, MIGRANTE International will remain at the frontline of the struggle for the rights and welfare of domestic workers and their fight for justice and the total eradication of modern-day slavery victimizing migrant workers around the world,” Martinez said.###