Philippines ratifies ILO convention eliminating violence, harassment in workplaces

Philippines becomes first Asian country to ratify convention

Philippines ratifies ILO convention eliminating violence, harassment in workplaces

The Philippine government ratified last week the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention aimed at eliminating violence and harassment in workplaces, becoming the first Asian country to do so.

The government deposited its ratification document on the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) on February 20, which is also the World Day of Social Justice.

"We consider it auspicious to deposit the instrument of ratification today, 20 February 2024, as we celebrate the World Day of Social Justice," said Ernesto Bitonio, Jr., undersecretary for labour and employment, in a statement.

"This event may look simple, but it symbolises several policy initiatives and milestones on what labour and employment in the Philippines has achieved, particularly over the last twenty months."

ILO Convention No. 190

The Convention No. 190 introduces the first globally recognised definition of workplace violence and harassment, as well as offers protection to all individuals in the workforce.

Under the convention, the Philippine government is mandated to adopt inclusive and gender-responsive strategies for preventing and eradicating workplace violence and harassment.

"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," Bitonio said as quoted by the ILO.

The Philippine Department of Labour and Employment said the principles of Convention No. 190 are already incorporated and operationalised in some of the country's legislations, including the Labour Code, the Anti-sexual Harassment Act, the Magna Carta of Women, and the Philippine Safe Spaces Act.

Bitonio added that the government is committed to fully implementing the convention and is prepared to address implementation challenges that will likely ensue.

ILO welcomes ratification

In depositing the instrument of ratification, the ILO said the Philippines becomes the 38th country in the world and the first Asian nation to ratify Convention No. 190.

Celeste Drake, ILO Deputy Director-General, welcomed the Philippines' move to ratify the convention.

"This ratification marks an important step to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work. It is time to make workplaces free from violence and harassment a reality everywhere, promoting and realizing social justice for all," Drake said.

The ILO have been calling on member-states to ratify Convention No. 190 to "create a more inclusive world of work and ensure social justice for all."

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