Opening address at the Validation workshop on the Code of Conduct for private recruitment agencies and its monitoring

By Mr Rex Marlo Varona, Project Coordinator of the Safe and Fair Programme, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the Validation workshop on the Code of Conduct for private recruitment agencies and its monitoring, 26 January 2023, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 26 January 2023
  • Secretary Susan Ople of the Department of Migrant Workers;
  • Administrator Bernard Olalia of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration;
  • Partners and stakeholders from the government, civil society, migrant organizations, trade unions, and recruitment industry;
  • Colleagues from ILO, IOM, and UN Women;
  • Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga (good morning)!
It is my pleasure to welcome you all in the validation workshop for the Code of Conduct for Private Recruitment Agencies and its monitoring.

Let me first congratulate everyone for the Code of Conduct – one which has been drafted and further refined considering current recruitment context and guided by practical experiences, especially those of the recruitment industry. The proposed Code of Conduct captures the full cycle of migration from pre-departure to reintegration as we see the important roles recruitment agencies play in a migrant worker’s journey.

This development of Code of Conduct contributes to the implementation of the National Action Plan on Fair and Ethical Recruitment adopted by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, which now fully operates as the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

We recognize that promoting fair and ethical recruitment practices remains among the top priorities of the Philippine Government as seen with the Department of Migrant Workers’ efforts to improve recruitment mechanisms.

Recruitment regulation remains as a strategy to help ensure that workers’ recruitment is done in compliance with national and international labour and fair recruitment standards. The voluntary nature of the Code of Conduct does not seek to replace any regulatory framework of the government, but it intends to encourage and incentivize the recruitment industry to uphold fair and ethical recruitment practices.

To operationalize the provisions, monitoring tools have also been collectively drafted accompanying the Code of Conduct.

Since the inception, an iterative, multi-stakeholder consultative process was observed to develop the Code of Conduct and monitoring tools that we have for today’s validation workshop. The combined inputs of different stakeholders, particularly the private recruitment sector, will allow us to adopt and promote the Code of Conduct and monitoring tools for possible industry-wide adoption.

The Code of Conduct and its monitoring mechanism is intended to complement government mechanisms where possible. During the consultations, it was repeatedly recommended that the Code be integrated as a component for incentivizing the PRAs, which is also mandated by the DMW Law (Republic Act 11641). I hope that we also use this time to discuss this.

I am pleased to note further that a similar process is taking place for the Bangsamoro Region.

These efforts are part of ILO’s commitment to strongly support the Philippine Government and tripartite and social partners - government, workers and employers in meeting Objective 6 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), and Goal 10, specifically target 10.7 on to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Lastly, our collective efforts to protect the rights of migrant workers through fair recruitment practices support the ILO Global Call to Action for an inclusive, sustainable, resilient and human-centred recovery from COVID-19, and the 15-Point Labour Agenda recently adopted by tripartite partners.

I hope that this initiative will be help us get closer to our shared goal of fair and ethical recruitment.

I wish you a successful event.

Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!