The “Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program” enables female OFW returnees to start and operate livelihood undertaking for self-employment. The seminar discussed existing national and regional policies that promote and safeguard the welfare of migrant workers within ASEAN and the plus-three countries (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea), as well as the contribution of migrant workers in the ASEAN Economic Community and the East Asia Economic Community.
The seminar is in line with ASEAN’s commitment to promote the welfare of ASEAN migrant workers, especially with the Leaders’ signing of the “ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers” during the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila in November 2017.
The Philippines also shared that the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers as a national priority is included in the long-term goals of the “Ambisyon Natin 2040” and the Philippine Development Plan. The Philippines also highlighted the “One Country Team Approach” policy to promptly and efficiently serve overseas Filipino workers and their families, including those with labor-related concerns.
The following recommendation were drawn during the seminar:
• Encourage inter-government and multi-stakeholder collaboration in upholding and protecting the rights of migrant workers among APT countries;
• Provide capacity-building activities in the field of technical and vocational education and training to accommodate the global shifting of labor market demand of medium to skilled workers;
• Make use of effective information dissemination activities to ensure migrant workers’ awareness of their rights; and
• Provide information-sharing platforms as well as pre-departure seminars, post-arrival and reintegration programs for leaving and returning migrant workers, respectively.
The seminar supports the APT Cooperation Work Plan 2018-2022, the principal guide in enhancing APT cooperation over the next five (5) years towards achieving the long-term goal of establishing an East Asia Community and in realizing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
The Philippines was represented in the seminar by Mr. Patrick Patriwirawan, Jr., Chief Labor & Employment Officer of the Institute for Labor Studies of the Department of Labor and Employment, and Mr. Alfred Kristoffer Guiang, Principal Assistant of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Division of the DFA-Office of ASEAN Affairs.