MANILA — Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has lauded the signing of a landmark pact on the protection of migrant workers by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Arroyo hailed the signing of the pact as a “fruition of the work” which started a decade ago during her presidency, wherein the ASEAN adopted the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
“I am gratified that at (the) summit opening, President Duterte heralded the landmark signing of the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. It is the fruition of what we started in 2007,” Arroyo said during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque City on Tuesday.
The signing of the landmark document is considered a centerpiece of the Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship this year following the successful conclusion of the three-day 31st ASEAN summit and related summits in Manila.
The consensus document aims to strengthen social protection and provide access to justice, humane and fair treatment and health services. Some 200,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) working in Singapore and Malaysia are expected to benefit from this.
Arroyo recalled during her ASEAN chairmanship in 2007 how she pushed for the declaration to protect migrant workers within the region despite it being a contentious issue at that time because some ASEAN countries received workers from other member-states.
“It was our most contentious chairman’s initiative in the 2007 summit because in ASEAN, we have members who send workers and we have members who receive workers, and of course they had deep differences of opinion,” she said.
“But we invoked our chairmanship to push that initiative, on account of so many Filipino workers overseas,” she added.
The agreement 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.
ASEAN is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. PNA-northboundasia.com