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DMW reaffirms gov’t commitment to protect rights of migrant workers

Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople on Friday reaffirmed the Philippine government's commitment on Friday to uphold international statutes protecting the rights of migrant workers and to pay special attention to female workers and their children.

"We underscored throughout the past two days the Philippine government's belief that migrant workers' rights are human rights and that our state has both the obligation and privilege of caring for them and for their families," Ople said during her closing remarks at the 21st Session of the United Nations Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Family (CMW).

"At the time of their greatest need, we are there," she said, noting the DMW responds with a whole-of-government approach to every migrant worker in need.

She then cited several recent Philippine government actions, including aid and relief assistance, emergency funds for migrant workers in distress, extending health care and other services for migrants and their families, and pursuing an aggressive campaign against illegal recruitment and human trafficking.

Ople also mentioned that the Philippine government was focused on building a more robust economy to address concerns over the growing number of women seeking employment abroad.

She also noted the signing of bilateral agreements with Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, extending greater protection for domestic workers.

According to the Secretary, the two-day dialog "gave us an opportunity to convey with pride our best practices – our milestones amid our many challenges – in ensuring that the welfare and security of our overseas migrant workers and their families are promoted, protected and fulfilled."

"The Philippines will never cease to protect its OFWs, regardless of gender, status, and the skills they possess. We believe, not only as a government but as a democratic country, as a society, that migrant workers' rights are human rights," she said.

"Diminishing these rights, diminishes us all."

On March 30 to 31, 2023, Ople led the delegation to present the Philippine government's compliance with the CMW.

Signatory member-states of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families are asked to appear every five years before the CMW, composed of labor migration experts from various countries.

The Philippine delegation is co-chaired by Ambassador Evan Garcia, head of the Philippine Mission in Geneva, and Undersecretary Severo Catura, Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat. This also includes senior officials from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as well as the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat (PHRC). — DVM, GMA Integrated News