By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has asked the Senate to ratify a 2019 International Labour Organization (ILO) convention that seeks to address workplace violence and harassment.

Malacañang sought the ratification of ILO Convention No. 190, the Convention Concerning the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, in a letter to the Senate last month, the Presidential Communications Office said on Wednesday.

In that letter, dated Oct. 13 and addressed to Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri and other senators, Mr. Marcos said: “The ratification of the ILO C190 will fortify the Philippine government’s mandate and policy in promoting and protecting the rights of Filipino workers, locally and overseas, by pushing for a work environment with zero tolerance for violence and harassment.”

To recall, the ILO C190 was adopted during the general conference in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2019.

“In this regard, the country’s commitments relative to the ILO C190 contribute to the performance of key targets under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly with respect to Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Goal 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth,” Mr. Marcos continued in his letter to the Senate.

Agencies that have concurred with the proposed Senate ratification include the Departments of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat.

Labor groups welcomed the President’s endorsement of ILO C190, with labor coalition Nagkaisa saying it is “a breath of fresh air for labor” since it is the first international treaty to recognize the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based discrimination.

In a statement, Nagkaisa said the sentiment is “shared broadly across the workforce, highlighting the significance of this momentous occasion.”

Philippine affiliates of the Global Union Federations, in a separate statement, said ratifying ILO C190 is very much urgent and a big step forward towards ensuring decent work for all workers “at a time when our workers continue to be subjected to different forms of violence and harassment including physical violence, psychological violence, sexual abuse and economic violence committed by various state and non-state offenders.” – with a report from Jomel R. Paguian