Thursday, 14 July 2011

Domestic Workers Convention "a tool and a weapon"

“It is an added instrument, a tool and a weapon. But it is not the answer to migrant workers’ problems.” – United Filipinos in Hongkong

When the International Labor Organization passed its landmark treaty for the protection of domestic household workers, the Philippine government hailed it as a “great victory.” But for progressive groups advocating for the rights and welfare of Filipino domestic helpers abroad, the struggle has a long way to go.

“The resolution, if ratified, would respond to a lot of issues that migrant domestic workers are confronting,” Eman Villanueva, secretary general of United Filipinos in Hongkong, said, “But in the end, the key in addressing their concerns still lies on the strength of the migrant workers’ movement.”

Labor Undersecretary Danilo Cruz said earlier in an Inquirer report that the ILO treaty would provide a “mantle of protection” for Filipino domestic helpers, where, in Hongkong alone, Villanueva said, there are about 138,000.

“No one can deny that the (ILO treaty) is significant and timely. In fact, it is already long overdue,” Villanueva said, “The content is for the protection of domestic helpers, particularly migrant workers because they are more vulnerable to abuses since they are in a foreign land.”

Yet, with about 300 Filipino organizations in Hongkong, where 80 to 100 are affiliated with progressive groups like Unifil, the struggle of domestic helpers persists.

Read more at: Migrant group to use ILO treaty to empower domestic helpers, Published on July 7, 2011 By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

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