05 May 2016 – The Philippines and Cambodia committed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation on migration issues and labor matters at the conclusion of a Round Table meeting held in Phnom Penh on May 03.
In a Joint Declaration signed at the conclusion of the Meeting, both countries agreed to a set of principles for closer collaboration and engagement in the promotion and protection of the rights of migrants and migrant workers, noting the important role they play in the economic growth and development of both countries of origin and countries of destination.
DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Jesus I. Yabes, who headed the Philippine delegation to the Round Table meeting, welcomed the signing of the Joint Declaration citing that
“Cambodia has about 1 million workers overseas, while the Philippines has about 8 million migrants and migrant workers abroad, hence it is natural for the two countries to cooperate and support each other in promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of their peoples working abroad, especially in the context of an ASEAN community.”
At the Roundtable Meeting, the Philippine delegation, composed of officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, and the Department of Justice-Inter-agency Council against Trafficking in Persons, shared the Philippines’ experience in the four phases of the migration cycle, namely (a) pre-departure phase; (b) protection of distressed nationals overseas; (c) diaspora engagement phases; and (d) reintegration programs and services for when Filipinos return to the Philippines.
The Cambodian delegation led by Secretary of State Soeung Sarsochenda of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training likewise shared Cambodia’s labor migration policy.
With 7.9 million Filipinos working and living overseas at the end of June 2015, the Philippines has actively engaged other countries at the bilateral, regional, and international levels to promote and protect the welfare and rights of migrants and migrant workers. The Philippines has developed institutions, systems, and procedures that have become models for other labor-sending countries.
The Philippines and Cambodia are both signatories to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and are working together with other ASEAN countries in developing a regional instrument to implement the 2007 Cebu Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
During his visit to Cambodia, Undersecretary Yabes met with H.E. Ith Samheng, Cambodia’s Minister of Labor and Vocational Training and H.E. Long Visalo, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who both expressed commitment to intensify the engagement with the Philippines on migration and labor issues. END
The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ASEAN Trade Union Council.
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