Saturday, January 25, 2014

Jinggoy: PHL must use UN resolution to advance Filipinas’ rights abroad

MANILA-The United Nations’ recent adoption of a resolution on women migrant workers fosters an enabling environment for better international labor diplomacy, which the Philippines must thus maximize to advance the rights of the more than one million Filipinas abroad.
This was underscored by Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, chairman of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources Development, as he lauded the UN General Assembly’s adoption of Resolution 68/137 on violence against women migrant workers last December 18 during its 68th plenary session.
The resolution seeks to protect women living and working abroad, underscoring the promotion of their rights and privileges as well as the cooperation and shared responsibility of countries of origin, transit, and destination to create an environment conducive to their welfare.
It urges all countries to grant women migrant workers access to gender-sensitive and transparent mechanisms for airing their problems pertaining to status of contracts, working conditions or labor issues, and advises governments to encourage those concerned, especially the private sector and job agencies involved in recruitment, to focus on funding support for women migrant workers.
All governments are likewise urged to consider permitting women migrant workers who are victims of violence to apply for residency permits independently of abusive employers or spouses, and to eliminate abusive sponsorship systems.
It welcomes the entry into force on September 5, 2013 of International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers and encourages States to ratify it.
The resolution was initiated by the Philippines and Indonesia and was co-sponsored by 53 countries from all regions of the world.
Also approved during the UN session were the following resolutions that benefit women: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas; and Follow-up to the 4th World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
Based on records, there are about 1.03 million female Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), and more than 100,000 of these are domestic workers. Over the years, there have been numerous reports of Filipinas getting exploited and abused abroad.
“I understand that our government has been encountering some difficulties in negotiating with other governments for ample protection and better working conditions for migrant Filipina workers. The UN’s adoption of Resolution 68/137 as well as the other women-oriented resolutions will greatly help us in this effort,” Estrada said.

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