ASEAN pact on migrant workers aligned with Senate bills

MANILA — A senator on Wednesday lauded the signing of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Consensus on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers saying that it will “complement” pending Senate bills to benefit overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The consensus was signed during the recently-concluded ASEAN Summit and related meetings held in Manila this month.

“The agreement will complement and strengthen our pending bills in the Senate to improve the benefits and protection of our OFWs,” Senator Joel Villanueva said in a press statement.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, said that one example is the creation of a separate department for migrant workers which would cater to all their concerns and reduce bureaucracy in OFW assistance.

He said that with the consensus, he is confident that the efforts of the legislative department would be given “adequate attention.”

He further described the consensus as “a testament to the commitment of the region to improve the labor standards and protect the legal rights of our workers especially in line with ASEAN integration.”

“This agreement will definitely benefit our OFWs. Truly, there is a need to do so since we are in an era where our countrymen have increasingly chosen to work abroad,” he added.