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Philippines becomes the first Asian country to ratify C190 on violence and harassment at work: ILO

Philippines becomes the first Asian country to ratify C190 on violence and harassment at work: ILO

This implies that it has given its backing for Convention No. 190, which represents the labour standard and definition for a workplace free from violence and harassment.

The Philippines has deposited the instrument of ratification of the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190), becoming the 38th country in the world - and the first Asian country - to ratify Convention No. 190, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Convention No. 190 marks the first international labour standard to address violence and harassment at work. In conjunction with Recommendation No. 206, it establishes a definition and framework for action. Together, these instruments align with the objectives outlined in the ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work, emphasising a workplace free from violence and harassment.

As such, the Convention aims to introduce the first globally recognised definition of workplace violence and harassment. This is meant to offers protection to all individuals in the workforce, including interns, apprentices, and those with employer duties or authority. The protection extends across various sectors, including public and private, formal and informal economies, and urban and rural areas.

In consultation with representative employers' and workers' organisations, the Convention also mandates member states to adopt inclusive, gender-responsive strategies for preventing and eradicating workplace violence and harassment. This approach encompasses prevention, protection, and enforcement measures, as well as remedies, guidance, training, and awareness-raising initiatives.

Acknowledging the distinct roles of governments, employers, workers, and their organisations, the Convention underscores the importance of social dialogue and tripartism in implementing these measures at the national level.

The instrument of ratification was deposited with the Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 20 February 2024, coinciding with the celebration of the World Day of Social Justice. 

On behalf of the Philippines' Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma, Labour Relations, Policy and International Affairs Undersecretary Atty. Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio, Jr., formally handed over the ratification document to ILO Deputy Director-General Celeste Drake. He was joined by the officials of the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva led by Ambassador Carlos D. Sorreta.

During the ceremony held at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, M. Ernesto Bitonio affirmed: “The Philippines recognises that as the First international instrument to institutionalise the 'right to a world of work free from violence and harassment' as a specific right, convention 190 breaks new ground in the boldness of its scope and ambition"

"Where it speaks of a “right in the world of work,” it transcends the traditional boundaries of physical spaces, territory and geography, of formal and informal work arrangements, of urban and rural communities, of corporate halls and households."

He added: "Above all these, the convention ultimately calls upon us to agree on a baseline of acceptable behaviour that respects every worker equally as a human being who has full freedom to choose and pursue the things that society values whatever [their] status, capabilities and sector are.”

ILO Deputy Director-General Drake welcomed the ratification of Convention No. 190 by the nation: "It is time to make workplaces free from violence and harassment a reality everywhere, promoting and realising social justice for all.

To date, the Republic of the Philippines has ratified 39 ILO Conventions, of which 31 are currently in force.


Lead image / International Labour Organisation

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