Safe and fair migration

Opening address at the Philippine training webinar on International Labour Migration Statistics (ILMS) and sex-disaggregated migration data

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Philippine training webinar on International Labour Migration Statistics (ILMS) and sex-disaggregated migration data, 29 September 2020 Manila, Philippines via Zoom

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 29 September 2020
  • Undersecretary Mapa, of the Philippine Statistics Authority
  • Administrator Cacdac of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Safe and Fair NPAC Chairperson
  • Atty. Chaves of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and Safe and Fair NPAC Vice-Chairperson,
  • Ms Carette of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines,
  • Our partners from the government, workers and employers organizations,
  • Ms Volpe of the UN Women Regional Office,
  • Colleagues from the ILO – Mr Ozel, Mr Habiyakare, and Ms Bharathi,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
Thank you for joining this important endeavour to focus back to one of the fundamental and long-running concerns – improving collection, management and reporting of international labour migration statistics for the Philippines.

A crucial aspect of this is in ensuring that the key datasets are sex-disaggregated, and that women and the gender dimensions of Philippine labour migration are put in sharper perspective.

Focusing our attention on data systems is not easy to do amidst the continuing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines and globally.

Since March the ILO has been tracking the impact of COVID-19 on the world of work. New ILO analysis of the labour market impact of pandemic reveals a massive drop in labour income.

A fiscal stimulus gap further threatens to increase inequality between richer and poorer countries. Effects of the pandemic are also having a disproportional effect on women.

There are urgent demands for services, actions and policies on all fronts from health, safety, and pandemic control, to safe return to work, recovery, and to building a better normal.

COVID-19 has also particularly impacted Filipino migrant workers, who are among the biggest populations of migrants in countries of destination all over the world, as well as in international ships.

The stocks (population), outflows and inflows of Filipino migrants have been drastically affected by the pandemic.

For instance, more than 376,000 overseas Filipinos have returned to the country since February 2020. On the other hand, the deployment of OFWs has drastically declined year-on-year by almost 40 per cent in the first four months of 2020.

How have the population and labour force characteristics of Filipino migrants in ASEAN and other parts of the world changed because of these?

What are the differences in stocks, flows and patterns between women and men OFWs?

How about the foreign workers in the Philippines: what is their population and labour force characteristics at present?

Reliable, updated, systematic and sex-disaggregated data are important in all these as basis for evidence-based and responsive actions and policies.

The International Labour Migration Statistics (ILMS) Database in ASEAN provides an institutionalized and powerful research tool for policymakers and others to profile and monitor the international migrant labour force within the ASEAN region.

After the ILMS Database in ASEAN was reinvigorated in 2012, data from the 10 ASEAN countries have been published annually since December 2014. There are currently 21 datasets in the ILMS database in ASEAN, representing the stocks, inflows and outflows of international migrant workers.

However, there are gaps and challenges in the collection and reporting of these datasets to the ILMS, including for the Philippines. This ILMS workshop for the Philippines will provide a venue to discuss and address these gaps. Similar ILMS workshops will also be organized in other ASEAN countries towards strengthening ILMS and to prepare for the 2020 round of ILMS data collection and submission.

Complementing ILMS are the host of many other Philippine labour migration datasets that are collected by government and non-government agencies.

Many of the women and gender-related statistics are captured in these administrative datasets, including statistics on trafficking, illegal recruitment, repatriation of Filipino migrants; number of OFWs provided legal and other assistance; incidence of violence against women (VAW); OFWs covered by social protection schemes; remittance flows and use.

These datasets are important in making women and gender dimensions more visible in Philippine labour migration statistics.

Many are also used in reporting statistics under the SDG, Global Compact for Migration (GCM), and Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

It is for the above reasons that the International Labour Organization (ILO) is partnering with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the Safe and Fair Programme in organizing this Philippine ILMS training-webinar.

This collaboration builds on our past partnerships on data collection and reporting. We will use this momentum to continue strengthening our data collection and reporting for the ILMS.

We will also continue to enhance collaboration on the collection and reporting of other sex-disaggregated migration data, in order to make women and gender more visible in Philippine labour migration statistics.

We thank the Philippine Statistics Authority for this partnership. We also want to thank the support of our partners from the European Delegation in the Philippines, and colleagues in UN Women and the ILO in making this event possible.

Thank you very much.