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Senate concurs ratification of 39-year old ILO Convention protecting civil servants’ right to organize

The Senate today concurred with the ratification of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 151 which seeks to protect the right of civil servants to organize, as well as procedures for determining conditions of employment in public service.

With 22 affirmative votes and zero negative votes, the Senate approved on third reading Proposed Senate Resolution No. 454, authored and sponsored by Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Legarda said that the Philippines is the first Asian country to ratify the convention, which is also known as the "Convention Concerning Protection of the Right to Organize and Procedures for Determining Conditions of Employment in the Public Service."

ILO Convention No. 151 was first adopted on June 27, 1978 in Geneva, Switzerland entered into force on February 25, 1981.

"This will bolster the domestic and international status of the Philippines as a leader in promoting and protecting labor and civil rights," Legarda said.

Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Committee on Labor Human Resources Development and co-sponsor of the resolution, said that the approval "serves as a fitting recognition to the dedication of our country's public servants and to the people they dutifully serve."

In her co-sponsorship speech, Senator Risa Hontiveros said that the ratification of the ILO Convention "does not only guarantee decent work and trade union rights for 1.4 million public sector employees, it is also a tool of good governance." Senator Manny Pacquiao has also expressed his support for the resolution protecting the right to organize and procedures for determining conditions of employment in public service.

According to the resolution, "the Convention promotes sound labor relations between public authorities and public employees' organizations through the protection of the right to organize, granting of facilities or privileges to its representatives, full development and utilization of machinery for negotiation of terms and conditions of employment, and promotion of civil and political rights of public employees."

"The resolution applies to all persons employed by public authorities. The extent to which the guarantees in the Convention shall be applied, in so far as the high-level managerial, policy making and confidential employees are concerned, as well as the armed forces and the police, shall be determined by national law and regulations," the resolution added.

Under the resolution, the Convention "shall take effect 12 months after the date on which its ratification has been registered with the Director-General of the ILO."

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ratified the Convention last May 26, 2017.

Legarda stated the importance of the ratification of the Convention to public employees who will enjoy better working conditions, have the opportunity to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment, and have proper avenues to voice out their grievances.

"Civil servants have waited for 39 years for the ratification of this Convention and the Senate's concurrence is a vote in upholding and promoting labor rights," Legarda concluded.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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