In June 2019 during the Centenary Session of the International Labor Conference (ILC), employers’ and workers’ groups all over the world saw the adoption of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 190 or the “Violence and Harassment Convention”. The Philippine delegation to the ILC, which included employers and trade unions, voted in favor of the approval of the Convention.
Convention 190 is an international instrument that provides a clear framework for action and an opportunity to shape a work environment based on dignity and respect, free from violence and harassment.
On June 25, 2021, the Convention came into force following its ratification by two member states. At present, six (6) member states have already ratified it. A growing list of countries is currently assessing whether they should follow suit and also ratify the Convention. Ratifying countries undertake to apply the Convention in national law and practice and to report on its application at regular intervals.
At this point, the Leaders Forum (LF), composed of employer groups namely, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT), and trade unions namely, Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), came to a consensus in the spirit of bipartism to actively participate in the ratification process initiated by the Philippine Government through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
By jointly getting involved in the ratification process, the LF aims to launch a campaign to massively raise awareness jointly and separately among employers and workers through a series of consultations to get their insights on how this Convention will shape the Philippine policy environment and how laws and policies will be effectively enforced should it be ratified.
The LF takes note of the passage of Republic Act No. 11313, “An Act Defining Gender-Based Sexual Harassment in Streets, Public Spaces, Online, Workplaces, and Educational or Training Institutions, Providing Protective Measures and Prescribing Penalties Thereof” or better known as “Safe Spaces Act” or the “Bawal Bastos Law” in April 2019 and the signing of its implementing rules and regulations in October 2019.
Safe Spaces Act or the Bawal Bastos Law expands the scope of Republic Act No. 7877 or the “Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995”. It now recognizes that incidents of sexual harassment may now happen between peers and be committed by a subordinate to his/her superior, and take place in streets, public, and online spaces.
The LF recognizes this development as a significant step that aligns the country’s laws to ILO Convention 190. Towards this end, the LF calls on its constituents to participate in this process so that workplaces, whether at home or in the site (e.g., factory, office, etc.) is free from violence and harassment in whatever form to achieve a safe space for all workers regardless of gender, sex, race, age, beliefs, and ability.
SERGIO R. ORTIZ-LUIS JR.
Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP)
JOSE SONNY G. MATULA
Federation of Free Workers (FFW)
BENEDICTO V. YUJUICO
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)
DANIEL L. EDRALIN
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
GEORGE T. BARCELON
Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PhilExport)
RAYMOND DEMOCRITO C. MENDOZA
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)