"Make Philippine maternity leave law at par with ASEAN," Hontiveros says

THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES posted a note (Thursday, November 9, 2017) regarding Senator Risa Hontiveros' statement on the country's maternity leave policy.

"Host at Chair nga tayo ng ASEAN, pero kulelat naman tayo sa usapin ng maternity leave.”
This was the statement issued on Thursday by different women workers as they called on the Duterte government to make the country's maternity leave policy at par with the standards set by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

"It is gravely disheartening that even as the Philippines is the Chair and host of the ASEAN this year, our country has long fallen behind our ASEAN neighbors in the area of competent maternity care. Sadly, and quite ironic, we are leading this year’s ASEAN but we are lagging behind in terms of paid maternity leave days for our women," said IndustriALL Spokesperson Shirley Yorong, who read the advocates' unity statement. 

The groups explained that the country's maternity leave law provides only 60 days of paid leaves. In contrast, ASEAN member-state Vietnam provides 120 to 180 days of maternity leave, depending on working conditions and nature of work. Meanwhile, Singapore provides 112 days of maternity leave. Even Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand surpassed our maternity leave policy by providing their women citizens with 90 days of paid maternity leave. 

They also said that under Convention 183 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), a minimum of 98 days is prescribed. 

The women workers said that through the work and leadership of Senator Risa Hontiveros, Senate passed the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill, providing 120 days of paid maternity leave days and an additional 30 days for solo parents. However, the version of the bill in the House of the Representatives has yet to be passed. The measure’s counterpart bill in Congress is still pending and waiting approval from its members.

"We urge the House of Representatives under the leadership of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to do its part and pass its version of the bill so that we can make the promise of better maternal care a reality before the year ends," the groups said. 

The press conference was organized by Akbayan-Women, IndustriAll, NAGKAISA-Women, Partido Manggagawa (PM), Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Mangagawa (SENTRO) Manggagawang kababaihan Mithi ay Paglaya (MAKALAYA) Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) and the Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (PMFTLU) and the Sanofi Aventis Employees Union (SAEU). 

Next week, the Philippines will be hosting the 31st Summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Over 20 world leaders, including the President of the United States of America (USA), are expected to attend the international gathering."