Baldoz heads delegation to UN Committee tasked to monitor convention on the protection of migrants

Geneva–Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, in Geneva, Switzerland as head of the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Committee tasked to monitor the implementation of the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and their Families, yesterday said the Philippines will hold constructive dialogues with the UN Committee and present the Philippines’s progress of compliance with the Convention.

“The dialogue, to be held at the UN Office in Geneva starting today, presents us an opportunity to present to the UN Committee for its consideration the five-year Philippine report on measures to give effect to the provisions of the Convention, which highlights the distinct Philippine advantage of having a 40 year-old, globally-recognized migration management system that protects the rights and welfare of OFWs and their families,” said Baldoz in a press release she sent to the DOLE’s Labor Communications Office in Manila.

The Convention, ratified by the Philippines in 1995, establishes international principles and norms for the protection of migrant workers and their families.

Baldoz said among priority issues in the dialogue are measures covering the entire migration process–from recruitment to employment to reintegration–as well as programs and activities that benefit OFW families.

In its five-year report, the Philippines listed the following among its significant gains since it last reported in 2009:

• Strengthened OFW protection with the enactment of Republic Act No.10022, amending the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act;
• Expanded the scope of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act through the passage of Republic Act No. 10364;
• Asserted the fundamental freedoms of women through the enactment Republic Act No. 9710 or the “Magna Carta of Women”;
• Strengthened domestic worker protection through the ratification of ILO Convention 189 and the enactment of Republic Act No. 10361 or the Batas Kasambahay;
• Engaged host countries in bilateral negotiations and agreements, such as the agreements on domestic worker protection with Saudi Arabia and Jordan;
• Strict regulation and enforcement of charging placement fees, which includes cancellation of 336 licensed recruitment agencies for violations of POEA rules and regulations, and vesting Presidential Awards upon 18 non-fee charging licensed recruitment agencies;
•  Assistance to Filipino workers in an irregular situation abroad, including regularization and repatriation assistance to undocumented workers in Saudi Arabia.

Baldoz said the Philippines will also report strengthened implementation of its programs through proper follow-up procedures, capacity building, rationalization of resources, and improved institutional coordination among government agencies.

In this regard, she explained that the Philippines has improved institutional coordination through the One-Country Team Approach (OCTA), saying:

“We have also strengthened coordinative structures involving government agencies, such as the OPRT (Overseas Preparedness and Response Team), the Overseas Filipinos and Information System (OFIS), the Shared Government Information System for Migration (SGISM), and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

The Philippine report, she added, highlights the presence of 82 Philippine embassies and consulates across the globe, and 58 DOLE Labor Attaches in 36 locations with a high concentration of OFWs, as well as the deployment of five DSWD Social Welfare Attaches.

“Also, the DOLE has implemented a gender-sensitive policy to deploy female case officers in Posts with a higher number of female migrant workers welfare cases,” Baldoz stated.

Other highlights of the report are as follows:

• Provision of emergency repatriation assistance to migrant workers in crisis situations.
• Increased convictions under the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, through coordination of agencies under the IACAT.
• Prevention of irregular migration through the conduct of anti-illegal recruitment and -human trafficking seminars and implementation of guidelines on offloading of irregular workers, as well as the establishment of partnerships between the government, civil society, religious and civic groups, and the academe.
• Sharing of electronic database toward streamlined procedures and stronger enforcement, such as the POEA-BI database sharing system.
• Development of programs and services related to reintegration of returning OFWs, with livelihood loans worth P443.7 million and projects that generated 2,995 jobs.
• Implementation of a Comprehensive Reintegration Program for Deportees and Returning Undocumented OFWs.
• Strengthened stakeholder involvement through social dialogue and tripartism, through R. A. 10395 which institutionalized regional and local tripartite councils.

“During this important meeting of the UN Committee, I will cite the Philippines’s leading role in international advocacy for protection of migrant workers, such as its chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue; as Chair and Advocate of the Rights-Based Approach in the Global Forum on Migration and Development; and as Chair of the Domestic Workers Committee that steered the ILO Domestic Workers Convention into adoption,” said Baldoz.

Any question about this release? Call the Labor Communications Office at 527 34 46.

END

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