- Atty Mendez of POEA,
- Director Dela Rama of TESDA
- Ms Maria Ressa and the entire Rappler team,
- Representatives from the government, workers and employers organizations,
- Our partners from the IOM, Migrant Forum in Asia, Center for Migrant Advocacy, Staff House International, The Fair Hiring Initiative and CIFAL Philippines,
- Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you!
Their stories won the 2017 Global Media Competition on Labour Migration, all published by Rappler as special reports. They did not only bring honour to your team, but also to the country since two out of the four winning stories came from the Philippines.
The ILO received over 350 entries from 73 countries around the world. It is truly a tough competition as an independent panel of prominent media judges selected the winning stories.
For the first time, the global media competition attributed awards on fair recruitment – in line with the ILO’s Fair Recruitment Initiative.
As ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said on fair recruitment, “tackling abusive recruitment practices is key in effectively preventing modern slavery and forced labour nationally and across borders. Migrants who are trapped in unfair or exploitative conditions are not able to realize their full potential.”
The two winning stories from the Philippines – both written article and media production, exposed issues and concerns on fair recruitment. Having information access on safe and fair migration options is crucial. Journalists play a key role in promoting labour migration as a choice and ensuring fair recruitment of migrant workers.
Every day, about 6,000 Filipinos leave their homes and their families for jobs abroad according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of the Philippines estimated a record-high of US$ 26.9 billion from remittances of Filipinos living or working abroad sent in 2016.
Beyond these figures, let us not forget real stories of Filipino domestic workers in Malaysia - Fe and Erika who had contract substitution with lower salary but heavier workload. Fe, cannot afford to rest even when her excessive workload took a toll on her health. Erika, an undocumented worker, passed on her status to her baby. It has been over a year and the baby remains stateless, having no nationality or citizenship.
Stories of Overseas Filipino Workers like Greg, Rodel, Mark and Ryan in debt trap and in distress will always leave an imprint. How are they supposed to pay a loan to their recruiter with over 109 per cent interest rate and to provide better lives for their families?
To the winners of the 2017 Global Media Competition on Labour Migration – Ms Ana Santos, Ms Sofia Tomacruz and Ms Camille Elemia – thank you giving a voice to these Overseas Filipino Workers.
Labour migration, as a complex issue, has its positive and negative effects. Migrants are less vulnerable when they leave out of choice, not out of necessity or desperation.
In his report Making Migration Work for All, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres emphasized that “migration is a positive global phenomenon”. He said that managing migration is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation of our time. The challenge is to better manage migration for the benefit of all.
As I end, let me of course acknowledge the international cooperation to make this 2017 Global Media Competition on Labour Migration possible. The awards were attributed in collaboration with the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Organisation of Employers, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Equal Times, Solidarity Center, Human Rights Watch, Migrant Forum in Asia, the International Federation of Journalists (IF) and, the International Training Centre of the ILO.
This year's competition is organized with the support of the European Union funded project “Global Action to Improve the Recruitment Framework of Labour Migration" and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation funded project “Integrated Programme on Fair Recruitment”. The competition also contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN TOGETHER campaign. The campaign encourages global action by promoting non-discrimination and addressing xenophobia.
All winning written articles and media production will be shared and promoted as models of fair global media coverage as widely as possible.
Again, congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Global Media Competition on Labour Migration - Ms Ana Santos, Ms Sofia Tomacruz and Ms Camille Elemia.
Thank you as I wish all of you a wonderful, peaceful and successful 2018!