Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partners, notably the Scalabrini Migration Center, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, for coming out with the Country Migration Report The Philippines 2013, the IOM's first comprehensive migration profile of the country, and urges full use of the report to further enhance the country's migration governance.
In a keynote speech delivered during the launching of the report at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Baldoz said the Country Migration Report The Philippines 2013 is not merely a collection of migration data, but an account of the many real issues Filipino migrants face.
"The report takes a significant step forward in highlighting areas of study in the field of migration governance that need to be analyzed to improve the institutional and policy framework on international migration all for the benefit of our migrant workers, their foreign employers, and the government," Baldoz said.
"I, therefore, recommend the report for general readership, especially to policy makers, members of the academe, government agencies, migration stakeholders, researchers, and the public to make full use of the information in the report, more particularly the major findings on migration trends, policy developments, and impacts and recommendations in the area of migration governance, mainstreaming migration in development policies and programs, and improving migration statistics, institutional arrangements, and technological infrastructure," she added.
The launching of the report was attended by top officials of the IOM led by Marco Boasso, IOM Philippines's director and chief of mission to the Philippines; Secretary Imelda Nicolas of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas; Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration; IOM Mission Coordinator and National Program Officer Ricardo Casco; Executive Director Fr. Graziano Battistela of the Scalabrini Migration Center; representatives of international migrant organizations civil society and non-government organizations; and representatives of other government agencies.
In her keynote address, Baldoz cited the strong partnership between the IOM and the DOLE and its attached agencies on various programs and policies towards improved migration governance.
She said the IOM is a long-time key partner in the DOLE's campaign against illegal recruitment, human trafficking, and irregular migration, and in the repatriation of OFWs caught in emergency and crisis situations like what happened in Libya and Syria.
Baldoz particularly cited the IOM-DOLE partnership in the poor provinces of Masbate, Antique, Maguindanao, and Agusan del Sur where the IOM and the DOLE, together with other UN Country Team agencies, namely the International Labor Organization, UNICEF, and UNFPA, developed and implemented the three-year Joint Programme-Youth Employment and Migration, a three-year joint program on youth employment as alternative to migration. The program was supported by the Government of Spain and funded under the MDG Fund.
"During the last three years, the JP-YEM has opened the door for young people in Masbate, Agusan del Sur, Maguindanao, and Antique to employment opportunities, and provided them valuable alternatives to working abroad, thanks to the IOM and other UN Country Team Agencies," said Baldoz.
According to Baldoz, the IOM is a DOLE partner in providing services and protection to OFWs, and the preparation and completion of the report is, she said, another successful partnership between the DOLE and the IOM in ensuring better protection and providing better services and programs to labor migrants.
"The report is an extremely important publication to all of us. As a country known to be a prominent origin of labor and permanent migrants, we owe our people an integrated account of migration flows, programs and services, as well as issues and challenges we face in a most transparent way," Baldoz explained.
In hailing the report, Baldoz said the Philippines is grateful to the IOM for highlighting the country’s internationally-acknowledged welfare and protection centered-global migration model.
"The launching of the report puts into action the advocacy for global data transparency in the field of international employment through the production of migration profiles among member states," she said.
The labor and employment chief also said that the convergent efforts towards the completion of the report was inspired by “the President’s directive in 2011 to organize OFW information transparently on migration in order to guide responses, made possible the Overseas Filipinos Information System (OFIS), thus substantiating the mandate of Republic Act 8048 or the Migrant and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 for a Shared Government Information System on Migration (SGISM).”