Senate to address enabling measures needed for ILO C190

By Wilnard Bacelonia

November 28, 2023, 5:10 pm

MANILA – The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations convened on Tuesday to discuss and form a technical working group that will consolidate needed legislation to maximize the proposed implementation of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 190, which is set to be concurred by the panel.

Senator Imee Marcos, who chairs the panel, cited during the public hearing of Republic Act 9262, 7877, 9710, 10361, 11166, 11210, and 11313, and some provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines.

"The ratification of this convention will fortify our state policy in many ways and certainly push forth Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Goal 8 on Decent Work in the Sustainable Development Goals," she said. "Perhaps we should consolidate all these existing laws with whatever future legislations will be necessitated."

ILO C190 or the Convention Concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work recognizes the right of people, regardless of gender, employment status, and sector to work free from violence and harassment.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said he believes that ILO C190 offers a vital channel to address the violence and harassment problems faced by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"Thousands of our migrant workers encounter maltreatment, mistreatment, contract violation, contract substitution, sexual harassment, and rape, among others. In fact, based on DMW (Department of Migrant Workers) data, there were 65,136 labor and welfare cases in Riyadh, 43,225 cases in Kuwait, and 29,049 cases in Malaysia, from January to July 2022," Villanueva said during the hearing.

"Concurrence to the ratification of ILO C190 demonstrates our country’s unwavering dedication to fostering work environments free from violence and harassment. This is a step towards aligning our policies with global standards, particularly following the 2023 report of the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations on the Philippines’ compliance with other ratified ILO conventions."

Meanwhile, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros said the concurrence in ILO C190 would pave the way for key government agencies, employers and different institutions, and stakeholders to work together for an environment of gender violence- and harassment-free space for all workers – whether in the public or private sector, or the formal or informal economy.

"I deeply believe that concurring with ILO C190 will help advance women empowerment, increase labor productivity, and contribute to peaceful industrial relations. It will also support the Philippine government’s effort to implement the recommendations of the ILO High-Level Tripartite Mission to address violations on labor rights and freedom of association," Hontiveros said.

If approved by the Senate, the Philippines will be the first country in Asia to implement the convention.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, 36 countries have already approved ILO C190, which consists of 12 in Europe; 10 in Africa; 7 in South America; 5 in North America; and 2 in the Pacific. (PNA)