THE Philippines will continue to champion the cause of migrants when it participates in the preparatory negotiations for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), a United Nations agreement that seeks to provide better treatment and protection for overseas workers, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.
Cayetano said the Philippines is committed to continue to take a lead role in the negotiations on GCM, which will take place in Mexico from December 4 to 6.
With over 2.2 million overseas Filipino workers, the GCM process is important to the Philippines.
“We are ready to assume a leadership role to ensure a successful outcome,” Cayetano said in a statement from Macau where he is on an official visit.
“We remain guided by President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s directive for us to continue working to promote and protect the interests and welfare of our kababayans abroad. Our experience in the promotion of the welfare and the protection of the rights of Filipino migrants led us to these fundamental advocacies,” he added.
“We are also committed to work with our allies and friends in the West who share our values but have issues and concerns that need to be addressed,” Cayetano said.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola heads the Philippine delegation to the GCM negotiations in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to push the Philippines’ migrants rights agenda.
Ambassador Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Manila’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, said the Philippines is one of the countries that led the campaign for the adoption of GCM.
“The GCM shows that migration has become a major issue in the international agenda and that is why we have fought to mainstream migration into the United Nations development agenda and include it in the Sustainable Development Goals,” Locsin said.
Ambassador Evan Garcia, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, stressed the importance of international migration issues to the country’s national interest.
“The country has to maintain its leadership on international migration governance for the good of our many kababayans now overseas or planning to go abroad,” Garcia said.
During the negotiations in Mexico, the Philippines will convene a meeting on the Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative (MICIC), which produced the Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Crisis or Natural Disasters.
The Guidelines constitute a voluntary toolkit that may be used by States and other stakeholders to respond to protection needs of migrants in countries experiencing crisis or natural disasters.
The meeting in Mexico is expected to produce inputs to the negotiations on the GCM, which will be held at the UN Headquarters New York from February to July 2018.
The GCM will be adopted at an international conference hosted by Morocco in December 2018.