The Philippines on Monday said it is committed to continue its lead role in negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration or GCM, a United Nations agreement that seeks to provide better treatment and protection for migrant workers.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Manila will continue to champion the cause of migrants when it participates in the preparatory negotiations for the GCM, which will take place in Mexico from Dec. 4 to 6.
“Our experience in the promotion of the welfare and the protection of the rights of Filipino migrants led us to these fundamental advocacies. This firmed up our commitment to stirringly advocate for rights of all migrant workers. The GCM is the primary UN process for advancing these advocacies,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement from Macau, where he is on an official visit.
“We are also committed to work with our allies and friends in the West who share our values but have issues and concerns that need to be addressed,” Cayetano added.
The DFA and Department of Labor and Employment under Secretary Silvestre Bello is prioritizing programs and issues on the protection and welfare of migrant workers.
“We remain guided by President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive for us to continue working to promote and protect the interests and welfare of our kababayans abroad. The GCM process is important to the Philippines and we are ready to assume a leadership role to ensure a successful outcome,” Cayetano said.
The secretary said a government inter-agency team headed is now in Puerto Vallarta to push the Philippine migrant’s rights agenda in the GCM negotiations.
Ambassador Teodoro Locsin Jr., Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York, said the Philippines is one of the countries that led the campaign for the UN to adopt the Global Compact on Migration.
“The GCM shows that migration has become a major issue in the international agenda, and that is why we have fought to mainstream migration into the United Nations development agenda and include it in the Sustainable Development Goals,” Locsin said.
In addition, Ambassador Evan Garcia, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, stressed the importance of international migration issues to the country’s national interest.
“The country has to maintain its leadership on international migration governance for the good of our many kababayans now overseas or planning to go abroad,” Garcia said.
During the negotiations in Mexico, the Philippines is also convening a meeting on the Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative or MICIC),which produced the Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Crisis or Natural Disasters.
The guidelines constitute a voluntary toolkit that may be used by states and other stakeholders to respond to protection needs of migrants in countries experiencing crisis or natural disasters.