PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign a labor agreement between Philippines and China that is expected to expand the opportunities for Filipino workers and ensure ample protection for them, an official said Wednesday.
The agreement is expected to resolve the concerns of some 200,000 undocumented Filipinos working in China may be firmed up as Duterte visits Beijing from May 13 to 15 to attend the Belt and Road Forum.
“We are still working out the details, but there may be a labor agreement that will benefit our [workers],” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
In his departure speech, Duterte said he would be exploring the opportunities “for supporting infrastructure development, trade and economic cooperation, energy development, financial cooperation, eco-environment initiatives and people-to-people exchanges.”
He would also hold bilateral meetings with Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg during the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum.
Duterte left for Phnom Penh on Wednesday to attend the World Economic Forum from May 10 to 11. He will be in Hong Kong to meet with the Filipino community there from May 11 to 13.
Duterte is joined by his defeated running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano that he has named as the incoming Foreign Affairs secretary shortly before leaving for Cambodia.
His delegation also includes Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Rep. John Bertiz earlier said the undocumented workers were mostly employed as domestics and private tutors in China.
“There’s no formal agreement yet between the Philippines and China to give work visas for these categories,” Bertiz said.