5 March 2018, Quezon City, the Philippines – The International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in the Philippines (CIFAL Philippines) in collaboration with the University of the Philippines (UP) hosted a roundtable discussion on the migration situation in the Philippines.
The Discussion was held at the University of the Philippines Board of Regents Room on 5 March 2018, bringing together eighteen representatives from the government, academic institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector to tackle issues affecting Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including the review of migration laws and agreements, recruitment and monitoring of workers, reintegration programmes, and media coverage.
Regarding OFW, former Labor Secretary Marianito Roque pointed out that the Republic Act 10022, the law which amended the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 in 2010, should have been reviewed in 2013 to address the needs of migrant workers overseas. Similarly, ASEAN Triangle Project Coordinator and Former Labor Undersecretary Manuel Imson highlighted that the memoranda of understanding with host countries should also be evaluated, given the increasing cases of OFW abuses and deaths.
On migrant recruitment and employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Governing Board Member Estrelita Hizon proposed streamlining of documents for OFWs to deter illegal recruitment. The International Labor Organization (ILO) also proposed an initiative to have a technical working group that will discuss principles on fair recruitment to eliminate the costs for the workers. Blas F. Ople Policy Center President Susan Ople suggested sending more Philippine Overseas Labor Office staff to host countries to ensure the protection of migrant workers. Roque also recommended that foreign recruitment agencies be held co-liable in monitoring OFWs.
For the long term, Industrial Personnel and Management Services President and CEO Angelito Hernandez recommended that the government should develop sustainable reintegration programs for returning migrant workers.
Dr. Rene Ofreneo, professorial lecturer and former dean at the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations, called on the government to create an exit strategy and ultimately industrial economic policies to reduce the Philippines’ dependence on deploying OFWs.
CIFAL Philippines Director Dr. Edna Co closed the discussion by calling all stakeholders to collaborate on various concerns of migrant workers and to promote better media coverage of migration issues.
UP Regent and former labor attaché Atty. Angelo Jimenez who co-chaired the round table discussion with Dr. Co, foresee that a continuing engagement among these sectors and follow-up roundtable discussions will take throughout the year.
Photo 1: Ms. Andrea Anolin from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas and participants of the Roundtable Discussion on Filipino Labor Migration
Photo 2: Dr. Rene Ofreneo from the University of the Philippines School of Labor and Industrial Relations and participants of the Roundtable Discussion