The UNI Global Union-Philippine Liaison Council (UNI-PLC) and the UNI-PLC Women Committee trooped to the office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday, March 9, 2020, to present its demand for the Philippine government to ratify ILO Convention 190 which seeks the elimination of gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace.
In a letter to the Secretary of Labor and Employment Silvestre Bello III, the UNI-PLC and the UNI-PLC Women Committee urged the Philippine government to ratify Convention 190 in order to “strengthen the various measures aimed at eliminating gender-based violence and harassment”. The letter was signed by Rosalia de la Cruz (UNI-PLC Women President), Bernadette Reyes (UNI-PLC Women Vice President and UNI Apro Youth President), Jesus Exequiel Nidea (UNI-PLC President) and Roland de la Cruz (UNI-PLC Executive Vice President).
The UNI-PLC delegation was met by DOLE Undersecretary for Labor Relations Benjo Santos M. Benavidez who promised them that a Technical Working Group will be convened to discuss the matter. In presenting the UNI-PLC call for the ratification of Convention 190, PACIWU Director for Mindanao, Flor Cabatingan, said that the adoption of the Convention was a significant victory for the international trade union movement including UNI Global Union.
The delegation, composed of UNI-PLC women leaders from the PACIWU, GTEU, and NUBE-IFO presented the statement of the UNI-PLC which said that by ratifying ILO Convention 190, the Philippines will formally commit itself to recognizes everyone’s right to a world of work free of violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment. It noted that gender-based violence and harassment disproportionately affects women whether it be regular or non-regular worker or third parties such as clients, customers, and patients. This makes it imperative that the Philippine government immediately ratify ILO Convention 190.
The UNI-PLC further stated that although several Philippine laws and regulations address the issue of gender-based violence and harassment, it is a fact that women continue experience various forms of unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate jokes, insinuations, and comments, and unwanted physical contact that can amount to assault.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Undersecretary Benavides promised that the UNI-PLC and the UNI-PLC Women Committee would be consulted by the TWG regarding the ratification of ILO Convention 190.
Photo: DOLE Undersecretary Benjo Benavides (middle) accepts the UNI-PLC Statement and Letter to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III urging the Philippine government to ratify ILO Convention 190. In the picture from right to left are Rainier Cruz (SCBEU Pres. & NUBE-IFO EVP), Beejay Marasigan (GTEU-FFW President), Sharlene Ramirez (GTEU Women Committee Chair), Liza Adavan (GTEU Treasurer), Wheng Leones (LBPEA Vice Pres.), Flor Cabatingan (PACIWU Director for Mindanao), Roland de la Cruz (UNI-PLC EVP and PACIWU NEVP), Undersecretary Benavides, Exie Nidea (UNI-PLC & NUBE-IFO President), Fred Pullarca (UIF President), Bernadette Reyes (UNI-PLC Women Vice Pres. & UNI Apro Youth President), Elizabeth Olazo (DBPEU Secretary General), Nanette Jariño-Lati (LBPEA President & NUBE-IFO Women Committee Chair) and Bobbit Librojo (UNI-PLC Secretariat)