ASCC chair urges ASEAN Leaders to set up reforms for migrant workers

ILOILO CITY-- The 17th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council Meeting, held here on March 6-9, has discussed the joint efforts of ASEAN Leaders in instituting reforms that would enable migrant workers to find safe, legal and decent work.

"Our collective efforts are needed in the ASEAN to support reforms that will enable migrant workers to find safe, legal, and decent work and to work in dignity and with the support, not only of the government of their home countries, but also of the government of their host countries," said Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, chair of the ASCC pillar.

During the meeting, Taguiwalo also urged the delegates to work together to protect all migrant workers and treat them as they would their own citizens when they are in need.

Taguiwalo expressed hope that very soon, the instrument would be ready for adoption during the 30th ASEAN Leaders Summit.

Meanwhile, ASCC Council delegates said in a joint Ministerial Statement that they look forward to the signing by ASEAN Leaders of the Declaration on The Role of Civil Service as Catalyst for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 in pursuit of the 2017 priorities during the 30th ASEAN Summit.

This expected outcome document is among those to be endorsed to ASEAN Leaders.

This will be a follow-through document to the Cebu Declaration in 2007, which manifests the consensus of the ASEAN to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers.

The push for the protection of migrant workers is being done by the social welfare chief based on the conviction that economic progress should improve the standards and quality of life of all citizens.

Taguiwalo said that in their desire to free themselves from poverty and given the lack of employment opportunities in their own countries, some citizens opt to leave and find work overseas -- and many stay within the ASEAN.

In this light, she said, it is crucial to discuss the status of migrant workers in the different member states of the ASEAN and ascertain their condition.

"As one community, we should work together to ensure that all our citizens working in other member states are protected, and their labor rights recognized and respected," Taguiwalo said.

"The Philippines is honored to assume the chairpersonship of the ASEAN on the occasion of its 50th or golden founding anniversary. We have chosen 'Partnering for Change, Engaging the World' as our theme and have laid out six thematic priorities to achieve holistic growth, and development," she said earlier.

The six thematic priorities are a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN; peace and stability in the region; maritime security and cooperation; inclusive, innovation-led growth; ASEAN's resiliency; and ASEAN: a model of regionalism, a global player.

Source: Philippines News Agency