TOP officials from the Philippines, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently affirmed the welfare of migrant workers in a breakthrough virtual forum.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, as well as the IOM, successfully conducted the virtual forum: “Labor Mobility and Human Rights: Examining Migrant Labor Governance in the Middle East in the Context of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM)” on April 20.
President Duterte addressed the forum as he reaffirmed the Philippines’s commitment to protect millions of migrant workers around the world. He called for the abolition of the kafala, or the sponsorship system of migrant workers.
The forum also highlighted the progressive Labor Reform Initiative rolled out by the kingdom on March 14 which directly benefits around 850,000 Filipinos present in Saudi Arabia by giving them the opportunity to transfer to a new employer if a migrant worker has not received a salary for three consecutive months, or if the employer has been absent; not allowing employers to cancel any worker’s valid Automatic Exit Visa; and letting migrant workers transfer employment if their former employers failed to appear in at least two judicial hearings or two amicable settlement hearings.
“We are moving forward [with] our goal for migrant protection accorded with decency and equal respect,” said Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. in his video message.
“The Philippine government will continue to strongly advocate for, and work with, all partners for the immediate fulfillment of the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” confirmed Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola
Around 200 participants coming from different parts of the world attended the virtual forum, with more than 500 combined live views on simultaneous public telecasts of the DFA’s YouTube account and the Facebook pages of OFW Help, as well as Radio Television Malacañang.