Safe and fair migration

Safe and fair migration gains momentum in Bangsamoro

The Ministry of Labor and Employment and the ILO hosted a forum on labour migration, domestic work and human trafficking in the Bangsamoro to mark the International Domestic Workers Day and the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Communiqué de presse | Cotabato City, Philippines | 26 juillet 2019
COTABATO CITY - The Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) spearheaded a forum on Uniting Bangsamoro Workers, Promoting Decent Work for Social and Economic Development.

The forum served as an opportunity to raise awareness on fair recruitment and safe migration, and to promote decent work for domestic workers and overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

More than 150 key officials from the government, workers, employers, migrant groups, civil society organizations, and partners convened to discuss a rights-based approach to labour migration.

“We envision to increase the employment rate in BARMM, not only to encourage the OFWs to return in our region, but also to strengthen our labour force, for the holistic growth and development of the BARMM. Moreover, we should arm our government agencies with effective and functional policies in combatting trafficking and illegal recruitment to ensure the security of welfare of migrant workers,” said Labor Minister Datu Romeo Sema of MOLE-BARMM.

The forum marked the International Domestic Workers Day (16 June) and the World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 July) in the Philippines. It also provided a venue to mobilize support towards strengthening international labour standards and national laws on labour migration, domestic work and human trafficking.

The Philippines is the first country in Asia, and so far the only one in the ASEAN that has ratified the Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention, known as ILO Convention 189.

“Domestic workers are workers with rights like others. We need to ensure that they have access to decent living and working conditions. It is crucial to promote decent work as well as to strengthen policies and partnerships for a rights-based approach to labour migration,” said Khalid Hassan, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.

The growing demand for domestic workers highlights the need to strengthen policies and action to protect domestic workers, and to ensure fair recruitment and safe migration.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) cited a steady increase of OFWs deployed every year. At least one million migrant workers leave the country annually since 2016, and migrant domestic workers comprise nearly half of those newly-deployed.

Labour migration is a top foreign policy concern of the Philippines, including related issues of illegal recruitment, human trafficking, as well as abuse, violence and exploitation of migrant workers. Special attention is required for domestic workers as one of the most vulnerable groups of workers.

BARMM is among the fastest growing regions in the Philippines. Its geographical location though makes it a possible corridor and back-door exit of migrant workers to nearby countries.

Thus, the forum culminated with the signing of a statement on Anti-Illegal Recruitment and Anti-Trafficking to strengthen intergovernmental coordination and convergence.

The forum statement involved officials from BARMM led by Labour Minister Datu Romeo Sema, the ILO and from key national government agencies, represented by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), POEA, and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Protecting labour rights and promoting safe and secure working environments of all workers, including migrant workers, particularly women migrants, and those in precarious employment, as well as facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration are key targets under the Sustainable Development Goals.

The ILO works to forge policies and to support countries in taking concrete steps to better protect the rights of migrant workers. In the Philippines, the ILO implements projects on decent work for migrant workers and a rights-based approach to labour migration.

These projects include the Safe and Fair Programme on women migrant workers, which is jointly implemented by the ILO and UN Women as part of the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative, and the Fair Project with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The ILO and the Government of Japan have also partnered in BARMM to provide jobs and to promote peace though improved water supply.

For more information please contact:

Ministry of Labor and Employment BARMM
Ms Farhana Aizah Adam
MOLE-BARMM Communication
+63 64 421 9728

International Labour Organization (ILO)
Ms Minette Rimando
ILO Country Office for the Philippines - Communication and Public Information
+63 2 580 9900