Protection of migrant workers sought

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Addressing the Committee on Labor Migration, a major committee of the International Labor Conference (ILC) in Geneva last week, Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III reiterated the need for better migrant workers’ protection among the member-states receiving nations.

“Member-states have a moral obligation to ensure that migrant workers have access to safe and decent work, wherever they are and in whatever situation they face,” Lagunzad, who headed the Philippine delegation to the Geneva conference, told the panel.

He also emphasized that tripartite participation is necessary in the design and implementation of migration policies and programs.

“Labor standards should apply to workers in all aspects of the migration cycle,” he said.

Other committees have also convened in the conference, including the Committee on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Among the topics tackled were issues pertaining to freedom of association, right to collective bargaining, elimination of forced labor, abolition of child labor, and the elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.

Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod, representing the Philippines in the panel meeting, had reported the country’s Eight-Point Labor and Employment Agenda, which the current administration adopted to pursue inclusive development and labor justice.

Maglunsod emphasized that the agenda is anchored on various measures that intend to address unemployment, enhance national program on workers’ protection and welfare, and strengthen labor dispute resolution mechanisms.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva, also joined the Philippine delegation to the ILC, and noted the critical role of the labor sector in enriching the on-going talks for a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration.

He said the intrinsic link between labor and migration provides a compelling foundation for elaborating on an international framework that will ensure the safety, dignity, and human rights of migrants.

“Towards this end, the Philippines will continue playing an active role in any effort that will elevate the discourse beyond populist narratives and ultimately benefit migrants and their families,” said Garcia.

The ILC is an annual meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) participated in by governments, employers, and employees in a tripartite arrangement unique to the UN system.

Photo Source: Filipino migrant workers gather at the HSBC building in Hong Kong. Japan, like Hong Kong, is considering bringing in foreign domestic laborers by setting up a specially designated zone in Kansai to accept them on an experimental basis. | BLOOMBERG

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