Implementation of the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights

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Information and publicity

  1. The Philippines ensures that respect for human rights is observed and, consistent with the mandate of the PCHR to promote human rights, it has intensified measures such as public information and education campaigns, training seminars, and assistance. Human rights subjects have also been integrated in the regular in-service training for all members and staff of the AFP.

  1. The PCHR has actively engaged in human rights education, planning, implementation and coordination with various concerned agencies involved in human rights education. In cooperation with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission has developed educational materials on human rights and has included them in the elementary and high school curricula.

  1. To increase the citizenry's awareness of their various rights and obligations under local and international law, the Commission has produced various publications including primers on human rights in Filipino such as the Filipino version of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (published by the University of the Philippines). Other printed materials such as posters and brochures are also being produced and disseminated all over the country.

  1. The Commission has initiated several series of consultations and dialogues with government agencies as well as non-governmental entities that can directly help to promote the concept and generate awareness of human rights. This has reinforced the Commission's coordinative task in finding legal, administrative and other alternative measures in resolving human rights issues.

  1. Through its Public Information and Education Office, the PCHR undertakes education, training and dissemination of human rights information in order to enhance public awareness, knowledge and understanding of the principles and concepts of human rights. The Commission has established 12 regional offices and four sub-offices nationwide to expedite investigations and provide easy access to human rights victims, as well as for dissemination of information concerning human rights.


Article 1

  1. This issue is addressed in paragraphs 447-463 of the second and third reports of the Philippine on implementation of the ICCPR (CCPR/C/PHL/2002/2; see appendix A)

  1. On 10 May 2004, national elections were held in the country. Prior thereto, or on 13 February 2003, RA 9189, otherwise known as the Absentee Voting Law, was enacted into law to enable absentee voting for all overseas Filipinos. The law covers all Filipinos abroad who possess valid Philippine passports and have not renounced their Filipino citizenship. It aims to ensure equal opportunity and access to all qualified overseas Filipinos in the exercise of suffrage regardless of their location.

  1. The DFA, through the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat, registered 364,187 Filipino absentee voters abroad in 84 Philippine Embassies, Consulates and other foreign service establishments. A total of 233,092 (65 per cent per cent) turned out to vote for the 2004 elections in the more than 100 overseas election precincts.

  1. Several international organizations came to observe the conduct of elections in the country and reinforce local monitoring. Some of the observers commended the Filipino people for their continued vigilance to achieve free and fair elections. Others observed that while a genuine desire for credible elections has been expressed by the Filipinos, important challenges still lie ahead.

Article 2

  1. This issue is addressed in paragraphs 464-475 of the second and third reports of the Philippines on implementation of the ICCPR (CCPR/C/PHL/2002/2; see appendix B)

  1. In 2004, the DOH led concerned government agencies in conducting the nationwide registration for persons with disability. The program though suffered from a low turn-out of registrants.

Article 3

  1. The fifth and sixth consolidated Philippines implementation reports on CEDAW (CEDAW/C/PHI/5-6) were considered by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women last 15 August 2006. (Portions of the report are attached as appendix C)

  1. Section 14, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that “the State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.” Also, Section 14, Article. XIII guarantees working women the right to safe and healthy working conditions, taking into account their maternal functions. Other specific provisions that guarantee women’s rights are Section 5(2), which upholds the right of women to sectoral representation in national and local legislative bodies, and Article IV, which grants them equal citizenship rights. Section 1(2), Article IV of the Constitution provides that any child whose father or mother is a citizen of the Philippines may be recognized as a Filipino citizen under existing laws.

  1. Towards this end, the Government of the Philippines has adopted laws to correct the historical disadvantages of women in various aspects of life. These include laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, emphasizing the right to education of women and the girl child, removing obstacles to women’s entry into the police and military, and criminalizing sexual harassment in educational and training environment and in the workplace.

  1. The laws on nationality provide equal rights to Filipino women and men to acquire, change or retain their citizenship or that of their children.

  1. Equality of men and women in terms of remuneration for work, equal pay for work of equal value, and conditions of work is a constitutional policy enshrined in Art. II, Sec. 14 of the Constitution.

  1. Affirmative measures also exist to respond to the particular needs of women in the workplace. Maternity protection has long been provided to women. Recent legislation, RA 8187 or the 1996 Paternity Leave Act, also grants paternity leave for men on the occasion of childbirth of their spouses. Article 132 of the Labor Code requires employers to provide women with certain facilities like separate toilet rooms and dressing rooms.

  1. The Anti-Sexual Harassment Act protects employed women from harassment and penalizes discriminatory acts committed against them.

  1. Education is a basic right of every Filipino male and female alike. In 2000, simple literacy rates for women and men 10 years old or older are almost equal at 92.3 per cent and 92.0 per cent, respectively, or a gender gap of 0.3 per centage point.

  1. The Government has also ensured that women’s rights in securing travel documents, specifically, the passport, are upheld. Guidelines of issuance of passports to women as stipulated in the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 do not require that women seek the consent of their husbands for their application for said document. The guidelines only require submission of pertinent documents to establish the civil or marital status of women applicants.

  1. Life expectancy of females has always been higher than males in the Philippines (71.28 years for females in 1999 compared to 66.03 years for males for the same year).

  1. The Philippines has maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 190 per 100,000 in 1970 and 179.7 in 1995. The MMR in 1991-97 is 172 per 100,000 live births as estimated from 1998 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS).

  1. In the 1998 NDHS, maternal deaths were estimated to be 14 per cent of all deaths of women ages 15-49. Approximately 2 women for every 1,000 live birth die during pregnancy, at childbirth, or in the period after childbirth. Filipino women also face a one-in-100 chance of dying of maternal causes in their lifetime. Maternal deaths are higher in poor rural and isolated areas and poor urban communities.

  1. Since 1986, the Philippine Government, through the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, has actively pursued various programs to ensure the effective implementation of laws for women. The Philippine Plan for Gender Responsive Development, 1995-2025, formulated in 1995, has served as the blueprint for the review and development of gender responsive programs by the different government agencies. These include, among others, training in the use of the gender and development approach for project development, creation of services to deal with problems of physical and sexual abuses as well as other reproductive health issues, and the provision of credit, livelihood skills, and information to enhance women’s economic productivity.

  1. The Philippine Government also puts high priority on the transformation of society’s attitudes and values towards the recognition of the equal roles, rights and responsibilities of women and men. In this connection, it has adopted three development plans for women since 1989. The Philippine Development Plan for Women (GAD) 1989-1992 recognized the shared responsibility of government agencies to implement programs for women’s advancement. Agencies created Gender and Development focal points to coordinate plan implementation and lead the capacity building of the agency for gender mainstreaming.

  1. Meanwhile, the Philippine Plan for Gender Development 1995-2025 (PPGD), was deliberately long-term in perspective and was envisioned to inform medium-term plans, such as the Framework Plan for Women (FPW), whose objectives, programs and projects are set for a shorter period. FPW aims to promote the economic empowerment of women while upholding and protecting women’s human rights in the context of gender-responsive governance.

  1. The Philippine GAD Budget Policy, enshrined in the annual budget law, requires the use of five per cent of every agency’s budget to implement its plans under the PPGD and FPW. The National Council on the Role of Filipino Women, with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), are tasked to monitor the implementation of the FPW and the budget policy. From 1999 to 2003, an average of 130 out of the 335 national GAD plan submissions from departments and their attached agencies were received by NCRFW.

Article 4

  1. The Philippine Government does not subject the rights provided under the Covenant to any limitations other than those determined by law. Such limitations – where they exist – are compatible with the nature of these rights and are solely for the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a free society.

Articles 5 and 6.

Question No. 1: ILO Conventions to which the Philippines is a party

  1. The Philippines is a party to the International Labour Organization Convention (ILC) No. 122 (Employment Policy Convention, 1964), ILC No. 111 (Discrimination in Employment and Occupation, 1958), CERD and CEDAW.

  1. The Philippine Government submitted its implementation report on ILC 22 for the period ending August 2002. A response to the recommendations made by the ILO’s Committee of Expert (Committee) concerning the aforesaid report was likewise submitted.

  1. The Philippine Government also submitted its implementation report on ILC 111 for the reporting period ending 31 August 2001. In response to the Committee’s recommendation for the Government to address the issue of discriminatory practices relating to “male preference” in the hiring of employees, the Government moved for the amendment of Art. 135 of the Labor Code. Towards this end, various bills were filed before Congress to increase women access to training in employment and prohibit discriminatory practices such as the giving of preference to men in the posting of employment notices.

Question No. 2
2.a. Situation, level and trends of employment, unemployment and underemployment

  1. Over the period 1998 to 2003, the country’s labour force expanded at a yearly average rate of 3.1 per cent or an average of 979,000 new entrant/reentrants to the labor each year. Overall, the size of the country’s labor force increased from 29.674 million to 34.571 million over the six-year period.

Employment and unemployment

  1. The level of employment grew steadily from 26.631 million in 1998 to 30.635 million in 2003. Compared to the labor force, however, employment grew at a slower phase annually – 2.9 per cent or 801,000 additional employed persons. The growth was observed to be highly erratic – it suffered a slump twice in 1998 (0.7 per cent per cent) and 2000 (-1.0 per cent per cent), made a recovery in 1999 (4.2 per cent per cent) and in 2001 (6.2 per cent per cent) and posted a moderate growth in 2002 (3.1 per cent per cent) and 2003 (1.9 per cent per cent). The rise and fall in employment over the six-year period was closely tied to the fluctuation in agricultural employment due to the adverse effect brought by the El Niño phenomenon, which visited the country in 1998 and again in 2000. On the other hand, the full brunt of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the global economic slowdown that begun in 2000 was felt almost entirely by the industry sector.

  1. Employment growth was led by the service sector, which continuously posted an annual growth rate of 5.4 per cent. Its share in total employment expanded from 45 per cent in 1998 to 47.6 per cent in 2003. Meanwhile, the combined agriculture, fishery and forestry sector accounted for a substantial share in total employment, although its share remained stagnant at about 37 per cent. Industry employment however, grew at a very slow pace (1.6 per cent per cent) while its share in total employment declined from 17.1 per centto 15.8 per cent during the same period.

  1. In the public sector, total government workforce stood at 2.37 million in 2003, registering an increase of only 295,000 workers (13.7 per cent per cent) from 1998. Over the period, growth in public sector employment steadily declined from a high of 5.8 per cent in 2000 to 1.8 per cent in 2002. Public sector employment even fell by 0.5 per cent in 2003. Employees in government owned or controlled corporations declined from 128,466 in 1993 to 94,970 in 1999, brought about by the privatization program of the government. A little less that 87 per cent per cent of the total government work force is on permanent status with guaranteed security of tenure.

  1. Employment continued to expand in April 2004 posting a 3.6 per cent year-on-year growth or more than a million (1.102 million) employed persons, as indicated in the Labor Force Survey (LFS) of March 2004. The growth resulted from the continued expansion in the service sector (6.2 per cent per cent) and the strong recovery of the industry sector (5.7 per cent per cent). This is an improvement from the data of 2003 when employment recorded a near zero growth (0.8 per cent per cent or 232,000).

  1. The agriculture sector, including fishery and forestry, accounts for 45.2 per cent of total employment in October 1990. In October 1999, the share of this sector declined by 6.1 per centage points to 39.1 per cent. This could have been a positive development except that the rate of decline was slow when compared to other ASEAN countries. Also, workers who left the agriculture sector were not absorbed by the industry sector. Data showed that the share of the industry sector to total employment remained almost the same during the period. The increase was minimal at 0.6 per cent, viz., 15. per cent in October 1990 to 15.6 per cent in October 1999. It appears that the leavers went to the service industry whose share expanded from 39.7 per cent in 1990 to 44.2 per cent in 1999. This forced absorption of redundant agricultural workers in the service sector resulted in the growth of the informal sector in the urban areas.

  1. The LFS of July 2000 indicate that the agriculture sector suffered a cutback (1.188 million or 10.1 per cent per cent) after registering an increase (0.8 million) in July 1999. In 2001, its share in the total employment again fell to 35.1 per cent from 37.4 per cent. On the other hand, industry employment rose by 5.7 per cent, following a slump in 1999. All sub-sectors posted positive growth rates led by the manufacturing sector and followed by the construction sector, mining and quarrying sector, and electricity, gas and water sector.

  1. The rapid expansion in the labor force and the moderate performance of the economy resulted in the increase of unemployed persons over time. Except for a decline in 1999, the number of unemployed rose gradually from 3.04 million in 1998 to 3.93 million in 2003. Unemployment rate declined slightly from 10.3 per cent in 1998 to 9.8 per cent in 1999 and rose to 11.2 per cent in 2000.

  1. Unemployment is largely a problem of young unskilled and inexperienced labor force. The youth, defined as persons 15 to 24 years old, accounts for one half of those totally unemployed. Youth unemployment rate is more than twice the national unemployment rate (21.4 per cent per cent in 1998 and 23.2 per cent in 2003). Most of those who are unemployed were school-leavers – vacationing and graduate students looking for work during off school season – and this explains why April is typically associated with the highest unemployment rate.

  1. The male comprised 60.6 per cent of the total unemployed in 2003. However, male unemployment rate (11.3 per cent per cent) is slightly lower than their female counterpart (11.5 per cent per cent ).

  1. It is also noted that unemployment rate tends to be higher in developed regions such as, the NCR (17 per cent per cent), Region III (12.1 per cent per cent ) and Region IV (12.9 per cent per cent), as compared to less developed regions such as, Region II (6.3 per cent per cent), CAR (8.9 per cent per cent) and Region IX (7.8 per cent per cent ).

  1. The rate of unemployment throughout the nineties exhibited a generally fluctuating trend. From an average of 8.4 per cent in 1990, unemployment rate rose to an average of 10.6 per cent in 1991. This resulted from the power crisis, a super typhoon that hit the Visayan region in 1990 and a destructive earthquake that hit the capital and the Central Luzon region, and the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991. In 1992, the drop in unemployment rate was the result of the generally improving economic situation brought about by economic reforms and good weather conditions. In 1998, unemployment rate rose sharply to 10.1 per cent following the Asian financial crisis and the El Niño phenomenon which hit the country in 1997 and 1998. In 1999, unemployment rate declined to 9.7 per cent after the economy recovered from the crisis.

  1. In 1999, male workforce was reported at 62.3 per cent of the country’s labor force. Although females comprised only more than one-third of the labor force, jobless rate was a little higher among females at 9.9 per cent as against 9.5 per cent for the males.

  1. Unemployment is basically an urban phenomenon. In 1999, less than two-thirds of the unemployed were urban dwellers (61 per cent per cent). Jobless rate in the urban areas was about twice (12.6 per cent per cent) the rate of unemployment in the rural labor market (7.1 per cent per cent).


  1. Underemployment is a more serious problem in the Philippine labor market than unemployment because it cuts across all age barriers and its magnitude is almost twice that of the unemployed persons. Underemployment rate picked in 1998 (21.6 per cent per cent ), 1999 (22.1 per cent per cent) and 2000 (21.7 per cent per cent) and thereafter stabilized at 17.0 per cent from 2001 to 2003 as a result of the recovery in agricultural employment.

  1. In 2003, a total of 5.21 million employed persons were counted as underemployed in the sense that they wanted to work for more hours than they actually did. This figure represents a substantial decline from the peak recorded in 1999 at 6.127 million. Measured against the number of hours worked during the past week, nearly two-thirds (63.7 per cent per cent) or 3.32 million were visibly underemployed, i.e. they worked less than the 40 hours equivalent of full-time jobs.

  1. Underemployment is more of a rural phenomenon. For 2003, underemployment rate was posted highest in less developed regions, such as Regions II (20.1 per cent per cent ), V (30.4 per cent per cent ) and X (30.5 per cent per cent), and lowest in developed regions, such as the National Capital Region (NCR) (9.6 per cent per cent), Region III (9.2 per cent per cent), Region IV-A (12.3 per cent per cent) and Region VII (11.3 per cent per cent).

  1. For 2003, the least educated was also heavily represented among the underemployed. Nearly one-half (46.6 per cent per cent) of the underemployed attended only elementary education or have not completed any grade at all. Slightly over a third (36.4 per centper cent) attended at least high school and less than a fifth (17.0 per centper cent) has college education.

  1. The level of underemployment rose during the crisis in the early 1990s from 5 million to 6.5 million in 1999. Over this period, the underemployment rates declined by 0.1 per centage points, i.e. from 22.4 per cent to 22.3 per cent. The number of underemployed continued to be high at around 5.4 million annually for the period 1990 to 1999.

  1. In 1999, 53.6 per cent of the underemployed were visibly underemployed, meaning they worked for less than 40 hours per week. The rest (46.4 per cent per cent) were invisibly underemployed, which means they worked 40 hours or more but still wanted additional work hours.

Employment of Specific Groups of Workers

  1. Employment opportunities for women expanded over the1990s. From 1990 to January 2002, the number of women workers increased from an average of 8 million to 10.2 million. On the average, women employment grew at an annual rate of 3.5 per cent as against 2.7 per cent of men.

  1. From 1990 to 1999, the rate of working children aged between 10-14 years old showed an average annual growth of 3 per cent, from 715,000 to 898,000. Their share in total employment averaged at 3 per cent, with 1991 registering the highest at 3.7 per cent and lowest in 1998 at 3.0 per cent. With the passage of RA 6655, providing for free secondary education and advocacy and mobilization efforts aimed at curtailing child labor, the number of young workers dropped incessantly from 932,000 in 1996 to 831,000 in 1998.

  1. In the employment of differently-abled persons, the Philippines is a party to ILC 159 (Convention Concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment [Disabled Persons]). To harmonize local legislation with the principles of ICL 159, Congress enacted RA 7277 to provide for rehabilitation, self-development and self-reliance of disabled persons and their integration into mainstream society. In 2000, DOLE introduced “Tulong Alalay sa Taong may Kapansanan” (literally, Program of Assistance for Persons with Disabilities) to assist the integration of differently-abled persons into mainstream society by providing them access to training and employment opportunities both in the formal and informal sector.

  1. From 1994 to May 2004, the program helped employ 22, 110 differently-abled persons in the formal sector. Of this number, 32 per centper cent or 7, 219 persons with disability (PWDs) were placed in open employment. For self-employment, 67 per centper cent or 14, 891 PWDs were given assistance for their own livelihood projects. Training benefited 7, 059 PWDs.

  1. In terms of technical-vocational education and training, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) conducts various industrial skills, livelihood and entrepreneurship training programs for PWDs. To enhance the skills and employability of PWDs, they are likewise mainstreamed in the national skills certification program. A total of 227 PWDs have been assessed and certified. In terms of access to education, 107 were granted scholarship under the Private Education Scholarship Fund Assistance and the TESDA-Asian Development Bank Technical Education and Skills Development Project.

2.b. Principal policies and measures pursued to ensure that there is work for all

  1. A combination of policy and legal instruments embodies the Philippines’ commitment to ensure the availability of work and equal opportunities for employment.

Policy instruments

  1. The Philippines is a party to ILC Nos. 100 (Equal Remuneration Convention), 111 (Employment and Occupation Convention) and 122 (Employment Policy Convention).

  1. The Philippines adopted a new Constitution in 1987. The following provisions of the Constitution are relevant:.1 Secs. 9, and 18 of Art. II; Sec. 12 of Art. XII, Sec. 3 of Art. XIII and Sec. 2 (2) of Art. IX-B.

  1. The following statutory instruments also embody the Philippines’ commitment to labor: 2

  • Administrative Code of 1987;

  • RA 8759 “An Act Institutionalizing a National Facilitation Service Network through the Establishment of a Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in Every Province, Key City and other Strategic Areas throughout the Country”

  • RA 7323 “An Act to Help the Poor but Deserving Students Pursue their Education by Encouraging their Employment During Summer and/or Christmas Vacations through Incentives Granted to Employers, Allowing them to Pay only Sixty Percentum of their Salaries or Wages and the Forty Percentum through Education Vouchers to be paid by the Government, Prohibiting and Penalizing the Filing of Fraudulent or Fictitious Claims, and for Other Purposes”

  • RA 7277 “ An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation, Self-development and Self-reliance of Disabled Persons and their Integration into the Mainstream of Society and for other Purposes.”

  • RA 9262 “An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes”

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