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Manila – The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) continues to advocate for international and local policies that zero in on a violence and harassment free workspace. This concern was tackled during the 9th ILS Revive and Thrive webinar titled, “More than rhetoric: Policy directions toward a world of work free from violence and harassment,” which was streamed live via the official ILS Facebook page last November 19.

Headed by the Institute’s Workers’ Welfare Research Division (WWRD), this episode aimed to provide a venue to galvanize attention and further stimulate public conversations on the need for more inclusive policies and programs to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work, as well as to provide effective support mechanisms for survivors. This is not only a significant consideration during and the period after the outbreak, but also in shaping a sustainable recovery in the face of future crises.

During the International Labour Conference in 2019, governments, workers’ and employers’ groups have adopted the first standards, namely the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 206), on ending the various forms of violence and harassment that plagued workers worldwide. The Philippines is one of the countries that expressed its support for the framework that sets out a clear roadmap for preventing and addressing these problems.

With the current pandemic, the risks of physical, psychological, sexual and/or economic violence and harassment have been considerably heightened and the webinar highlighted the pandemic as an opportune time to revisit the regulatory frameworks on violence and harassment, as well as the policy actions that are urgently required.

The program was formally opened by DOLE Undersecretary Claro Arellano, who delivered the keynote speech. The webinar was divided into a three-part panel session and curated a variety of topics that delved into a deeper understanding of Convention 190 and positive policy actions to ending violence and harassment in the workplace.

Session 1 titled, “Who, what, where and how? Understanding violence and harassment in the world of work,” covered an introduction to ILO C.190 and answered the question “How do we set the standards at the national level to prevent violence and harassment in the world of work?” The session was presided by ILO representatives Mr. Jajoon Coue, Specialist on International Labour Standards and Labour Law and Ms. Joni Simpson, Senior Specialist on Gender, Equality and Non-Discrimination.

Session 2 titled “Cultivating collaboration, delineating responsibilities: What we can learn from organization-based actions against violence and harassment,” probed into experiences in preventing violence and harassment and how the COVID-19 has affected responses from its multi-sectoral representatives. The session panel was composed of Ms. Joanna Bernice Coronacion from the NAGKAISA Labor Coalition, Ms. Louisa Mila Echevarria, President of the People Management Association of the Philippines, Ms. Ellene Sana, Executive Director of the Center for Migrant Advocacy, and Ms. Marie Rose Ramos, Deputy Executive Director from Galang Philippines. The panelist also shared their thoughts on how to cultivate collaboration among stakeholders in responding to violence and harassment faced by workers.

Session 3 was a two-part offering that took a proactive stance on promoting policies to institutionalize a safer world of work. “Mind the gap, confront invisibilities,” featured Ms. Malorie Joy O. Mones, WWRD Senior LEO who tackled the gaps and implications of ILO Convention 190 ratification. “Taking actions to achieve a violence and harassment-free world of work,” was presided by Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla. Director Trayvilla emphasized the relevance of ILO Convention 190 to DOLE’s COVID-19 response and recovery. She also underscored the DOLE’s policy directives in addressing VHWW.

The closing remarks for the program was delivered by ILS Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba.

To view the recorded webinar, please click this link: