Fair and ethical recruitment

Forum on “Fair and ethical recruitment in the Philippine labour migration governance through the lens of the recruitment industry”

Recruitment associations and agencies shared their insights during the forum “Fair and ethical recruitment in the Philippine labour migration governance through the lens of the recruitment industry” on 26 July 2022 in Makati City.

Forum's participants
The forum was co-organized by the Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration (POEA), now the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), and the International Labour Organization (ILO), through the IOM-ILO-UN Women Bridging Recruitment to Reintegration in Migration Governance (BRIDGE) Joint Programme. The event served as a platform to iterate relevant international labour standards, including the ILO Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181), guidelines, and strategies on fair and ethical recruitment; share challenges and good practices on surrounding Philippine recruitment regulation, including practices of recruitment agencies; gather inputs and recommendations of private recruitment agencies on how fair and ethical recruitment practices can be promoted under the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW); and discuss opportunities in improving fair and ethical recruitment practices under the DMW.

Mr Khalid Hassan, Director of ILO Country Office for the Philippines (ILO CO-Manila) opened the session with his inaugural speech. He recognized that achieving fair and ethical recruitment would not be possible without the support and cooperation of private recruitment agencies. DMW Secretary Ople, through Atty Geraldine Mendez of the Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch, expressed her support. The DMW remains steadfast in their commitment to ensure that our practices – both of the government and of the industry – align with international labor standards and improve the welfare of our migrant workers. She assured that the outcome of the forum will be seriously considered in the crafting of the Department’s Rules and Regulations on Licensing and Regulation.

Experts on labour migration and Philippine labour migration governance provided inputs in the forum. Mr Nilim Baruah, Regional Labour Migration Specialist of ILO-Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific ILO-ROAP  presented the ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment, and ILO Convention 181. Mr Baruah also presented a resource paper on the assessment of recruitment regulation and enforcement in the ASEAN region.

A review of the Philippine regulatory framework was given by Atty Harvey Dumbab, OIC-Director of POEA-Licensing Branch. Representatives from the recruitment industry, Mr Jessie Gutierrez of Coalition of Licensed Recruitment Agencies for Domestic and Service Workers (CLADS), and Mr Ericson Marquez of the Joint Manning Group (JMG), also reaffirmed the commitment of the recruitment industry, both land-based and sea-based towards fair and ethical recruitment and shared recruitment practices others could learn from.

Highlights of the National Action Plan on Fair and Ethical Recruitment was given by Atty Maureen De Guzman of International Organization for Migration (IOM). The Action Plan elaborates strategic objectives that can be adopted by various stakeholders to support Objective 6 of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Facilitated discussions encouraged participants to provide insights on their perceived ideal recruitment ecosystem; raise issues and concerns they face that affect the recruitment industry in adhering to fair and ethical recruitment practices, including the support needed; and identify challenging areas on recruitment regulation compliance and suggest recommendations for consideration in POEA’s review of rules and regulations as it transitions to the DMW.

Responding to the workshop presentations, Atty Francis De Guzman, Director of Licensing and Regulation Office of POEA, emphasized that the DMW would remain committed to maintaining the consultative process with different labour migration stakeholders in the operationalization of the new department. Inputs from the forum will be considered in reviewing the POEA rules and regulations. Meanwhile, Mr Edgardo Aranjuez II, OIC-Assistant Director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Social Development Staff, acknowledged the forum inputs and recommendations are useful in crafting the migration agenda as part of the new Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and could be raised to Sub-Committee on International Migration and Development (SC-IMD) for migration-related initiatives. Lastly, Mr Danilo Navarro, President of Association of Philippine Licensed Agencies for Technical Internship (APLATIP) and Founding Member of the Ethical Recruitment Consultative Group (ER CG) reaffirmed the commitment of the recruitment industry to work with government partners and other stakeholders in achieving fair and ethical recruitment.

In closing, POEA Administrator Bernard congratulated the participants and the organizers of the forum led by the POEA Licensing and Regulation Office and the ILO-BRIDGE Programme. He mentioned that as the POEA transitions into the DMW, they would remain consultative in the process of reviewing the POEA Rules and Regulations and in the drafting of regulatory guidelines of the DMW. He emphasized the importance of dialogues and getting stakeholders’ inputs in improving regulatory processes, including the system for rewards and incentives while pushing for a stronger regulatory hold. In her closing remarks, Ms Ilova Dorylane Lorenzo of IOM-BRIDGE Programme thanked the participants and noted related initiatives of the Joint Programme where the recruitment industry’s involvement would be crucial.

The forum was supported by the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) through the BRIDGE Programme.