Bello hopes ASEAN will abide to protect migrant workers

MANILA -- Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III is optimistic that the agreement signed by the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the protection of migrant workers will be observed in the region.

He was referring to the signing of the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of Rights of Migrant Workers on Tuesday at the end of the three-day 31st ASEAN Summit and related summits held in the country.

"Hindi ka naman pipirma (you won't sign) for the sake of signing, but you will sign with the intention that you will comply with the provision that you are going to sign," the DOLE chief said in a television interview.

Bello is hoping that although the accord is not legally binding, countries in the region will follow its provisions, which include allowing migrant workers to join unions and prohibiting employers from confiscating their workers' passports.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the signing of the pact.

The declaration aims to promote a decent, humane, productive, dignified, and remunerative employment of migrant workers and acknowledge the need to address cases of abuse and violence against them.

The agreement was also the result of efforts of ASEAN labor ministers to uphold fair treatment of migrant workers in the region and establish cooperation in safeguarding the interest and welfare of thousands of migrant workers in the bloc.

ASEAN is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Source: Philippine News Agency