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Senate OKs International Labor Organization treaty to protect workers

August 15, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate yesterday concurred with the ratification of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 151, which seeks to protect the right of civil servants to organize and determine conditions of employment in public service.

With 22 affirmative votes and no negative votes, the Senate approved on third and final reading Senate Resolution 454, authored and sponsored by Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations.

Legarda said the Philippines is the first Asian country to ratify the convention, also known as the “Convention Concerning Protection of the Right to Organize and Procedures for Determining Conditions of Employment in the Public Service.”

ILO Convention No. 151 was first adopted on June 27, 1978 in Geneva, Switzerland and entered into force on Feb. 25, 1981.

“This will bolster the domestic and international status of the Philippines as a leader in promoting and protecting labor and civil rights,” Legarda said.

Sen. Grace Poe co-sponsored the resolution on the floor.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the committee on labor and human resources and co-sponsor of the resolution, said the approval “serves as a fitting recognition to the dedication of our country’s public servants and to the people they dutifully serve.”

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, vice chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, also hailed the ratification, saying civil servants “are our partners in instituting growth and development.”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the ratification of the ILO Convention “does not only guarantee decent work and trade union rights for 1.4 million public sector employees, it is also a tool of good governance.”

The Convention will give the estimated 2.3 million civil servants the same civil and political rights as other workers, which are essential to the exercise of freedom of association.

Workers welcome ratification

The Associated Labor Union (ALU) welcomed the ratification of the convention, saying government employees can now organize and collectively bargain with employers.

“This day marks the empowerment of the government employees to render improved public service to the Filipino people,” Michael Mendoza of the ALU said.

Aside from paving the way for better services in the government, Mendoza said the ratification of the ILO would help the government’s fight against contractualization in the government. – With Mayen Jaymalin

Source: Philstar