NEW YORK CITY – The Philippines shared to the international community how it incorporated the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) in domestic policies, as the country fights for the universal commitment to improve the governance of migration.,At the General Debate of the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. highlighted the Philippine government’s landmark reforms to adopt the GCM, and realize its 23 objectives.,“We incorporated the GCM in our Development Plan. We enacted a law creating a Department of Migrant Workers to combine all government programs on labor migration. Separately, all of them worked efficiently and in synchrony to get the job done right and fast,” Locsin said.,“But every department concerned willingly carved out a big part of its function for the sake of unity of command. Mine is the first and only country to make domestic law, the 23 Objectives of the GCM,” he added.,Locsin said that the Philippine government prioritized the issuance of migrants’ vaccination and vaccination certificates, and established a “green lane” to enable crew change with lesser risk of COVID spreading.,“Beyond the domestic sphere, the Philippines campaigned for freer labor mobility and anti-human trafficking through international cooperation in response to the challenges Filipino migrant workers face in the Middle Eastern region,” he said, referring to the anti-Kafala campaign—a sponsorship system that traps migrant workers in slave-like conditions, which was successfully reformed by Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.,Locsin also committed that the Philippine government will do more to promote and protect the rights of Filipino migrant workers.,During his speech, Secretary Locsin paid tribute to the millions of migrants who lost their lives while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.,“Many countries’ health facilities are staffed by migrants; but they were among the last to get access to COVID cures and care. This, despite migrants stepping up to be front liners, doing jobs locals were too scared or not competent to take,” he said.,“It was like entering a firefight unarmed, against an unseen enemy; sans weapons and Kevlar, to save the wounded that existing medication could not treat. Or to just pick up the dead. Many times, it was to be by the victims, holding their hand as they gasped their last breath,” he added.,Locsin shared that the Philippine government embarked on a mass repatriation program to take home two million Filipino migrants who faced challenging situations abroad.,“With 10 million Filipinos out there, it was a categorical imperative. Yet we started by facilitating the swift expatriation of stranded foreign nationals that no foreign government asked us to do. This validated our hard fight for the Global Compact for Migration,” Locsin said.,“Resistance was strong; we were lucky to have the determined guidance of our Mexican and Swiss facilitators — the last in the teeth of his own country’s opposition. Resistance continues. When not overt, then in blocking moves to dissemble disdain for the subject,” he added.,Moreover, Locsin enjoined all member-states, international organizations, and trade and labor unions for collaboration to ensure that the rights of migrant workers are upheld across the globe.,“Fight on for GCM and what it stands for: decency as the only way to treat human beings; foremost the stranger in our midst. It was argued in UN debates: the GCM cannot be a compelling law. We replied: the compulsion to act decently is way stronger than law. It is defining of what it is to be a truly, human being,” Locsin said.,The IMRF is the primary intergovernmental global platform to discuss and share progress on the implementation of all aspects of the GCM with the participation of all relevant stakeholders. The forum will result in an intergovernmentally-agreed Progress Declaration., ,
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