Migrant Forum in Asia
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Run for Decent Work for Domestic Workers: Labor, migrant, domwork groups launch “12-by-12” campaign

In celebration of International Migrants Day, 18 December, trade unions, migrant groups, domestic workers organizations and CSOs will press for the immediate ratification of ILO Convention 189 and the passage of the Domestic Workers’ Act during a fun run dubbed the Run for Decent Work for Domestic Workers, in conjunction with the Month of Overseas Filipinos (MOF)  Fun Run.

Adopted on 16 June 2011, C189 is the first-ever international treaty that provides comprehensive protection for domestic workers – local and migrants. First and foremost, C189 recognizes domestic as work and calls for the equal treatment of domestic workers, who should have the same rights extended to them as any other workers. Among others, C189 protects the human and labor rights of all domestic workers, including the right to organize, guaranteed wages and working conditions, written work contracts, and access to social protection. This is in recognition of the fact that domestic are workers, and as such, they are entitled to all the rights, benefits and privileges that other workers enjoy.

The call for ratification of ILO C189 is part of a growing global campaign dubbed the ‘12 by 12’ campaign, which is spearheaded by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Leading the campaign in the Philippines is the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Campaign for Decent Work for Domestic Workers  and the Global Network.

The campaign aims to get 12 countries, including the Philippines, to ratify C.189 in the year 2012. Worldwide, the key role that the Philippine government, trade unions, domestic workers’ organizations and civil society groups played in pushing for the adoption of C.189 at the International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva in June this year, has been recognized.

The Philippine Government, which chaired the DomWork Committee at the ILC that deliberated on the contents of the newly adopted treaty, vowed to be one of the first countries to ratify the ILO Convention. This will send a strong message to the other member states of the ILO that they should do the same. For the Convention to come into force, it must be ratified by at least two ILO member countries.

Ratifying C.189 will be of great benefit to Overseas Filipino Workers, many of whom are working as domestic workers in the Middle East and Europe.

An important part of the campaign in the Philippines is the passage of a local law on Domestic Work, which is a requirement under C.189. While the Senate has passed its version of the Domestic Workers Act, the House of Representatives is still conducting hearings on the proposed law at the Committee level. President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino listed the DomWork Act as one of the administration’s priority bills during his last State of the Nation Address.

In the upper chamber, Sen. Loren Legarda has already passed a resolution calling for the ratification of C.189. Senate concurrence is necessary for the ratification of international treaties that the Philippine government enters into.

Domestic work is decent work!
Domestic workers are workers!
Domestic work is not slavery!
Ratify and implement C189!
Pass the Domestic Workers Act!



1 The MOF is being commemorated every December. The Inter-Agency Committee (IAC), established through Administrative Order 2012, is tasked to look into the preparation of a program to commemorate the events that promote the welfare of Filipino migrants and recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions of overseas Filipinos to the Philippines and the global community.

The TWG is composed of Federation of Free Workers, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and Alliance of Progressive Labor; the Samahan at Ugnayan ng Manggagawang Pantahanan sa Pilipinas; Migrant Forum in Asia; government agencies Department of Labor and Employment and Philippine Commission on Women; and Visayan Forum Foundation, who also acts as secretariat.

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MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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