PH gov’t ratification of ILO Convention on domestic work is victory of OFWs worldwide

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International viewed the Philippine government’s recent ratification of International Labor Organization Convention 189 (C189) on domestic work as a victory of overseas Filipino workers worldwide.

The Philippine government finally ratified C189 after months of lobbying efforts and campaigning activities of migrant organizations all over the world. The PH government is yet to ‘register’ its ratification at the ILO.

The ILO Committee on Domestic Workers adopted C189 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 C189 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 said that the PH government’s ratification of C189 is just a start 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 other States, especially migrant-receiving countries, to ratify the Convention and institute national legal frameworks to enforce its provisions,” Martinez said. So far, no major migrant-receiving country has ratified C189.

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. ###