Saturday, April 18, 2009

Arroyo initiated labor agreement

Press Release
18 April 2009

Arroyo initiated labor agreement with migrant receiving govt., not a guarantee to ensure protection of migrant workers’ rights and welfare – Migrante-ME

An alliance of overseas workers’ organizations based in the Middle East today said bilateral labor agreements between the sending and the receiving governments are observed to be ineffective, if not, non-functional at all in protecting migrant workers’ rights and welfare.

“Despite existing bilateral labor agreement between governments, sending and receiving, the rights and welfare of migrant workers as mandated in the United Nations Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families are not properly observe and abide by signatory states, much more those states that have not ratified the said international instrument,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

The following countries have ratified the Convention as of March 2007- Argentina, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda and Uruguay.

Monterona said the Philippine government, now represented by the Arroyo administration, for instance being one of those states that ratified the UN Convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families are observed to be negligent and inefficient in terms of implementing its provisions especially on protecting OFWs rights and welfare.

“OFWs plight around the world is worsening characterized by numerous cases of abuses, maltreatment; many have been victims of labor malpractices, human trafficking, inhumane living and dangerous working conditions, racism and xenophobia are becoming severe,” Monterona averred.

Monterona said these cases of abuses and maltreatment, labor malpractices, and human trafficking are rampant in the Middle East- where until now no GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) member state has ratified or just even signify its intent to ratify the said international instrument protecting rights of all migrant workers and members of their families.

“Middle East is the top destination of OFWs around the world. In Saudi Arabia for instance, there are an estimated 1.8-M OFWs deployed, and yet the Arroyo administration has been negligent on its responsibility of providing protection to the rights and welfare of OFWs,” Monterona averred.

Migrante-ME states the Arroyo administration, like previous administration and even any succeeding administrations, has the duty to urge and influence counterpart receiving and host governments to ratify the UN convention for the protection of migrant rights and members of their families.

“Sad to say, the Arroyo administration despite its repetitive previous pronouncements that it is working for OFWs rights and welfare seems to be contented pushing for bilateral labor agreements with migrant-receiving governments,” Monterona observed.

“Arroyo’s labor agreements with counterpart host governments still remain in paper and hardly being followed by the receiving host governments especially with regards to social and welfare mechanism and migrant rights’ protection,” Monterona lamented.

Monterona cited though the Philippines has an existing bilateral labor agreements with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, yet cases of abuses, maltreatment, various forms of labor malpractices are rampant on these countries.

The Arroyo regime is also pushing bilateral labor agreements with Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, respectively.

Monterona further said that one of the major blunders of the Arroyo administration’s existing policy of intensified labor exportation is that it practically neglected OFWs rights’ and welfare in exchange of the latter’s huge remittances sent home aside from the billions of pesos collected by the government through various forms of charges and fees impositions, that amounts are not properly used for sustainable developmental projects of the government that would generate jobs locally that would employ the millions of unemployed workers.

Migrante-ME said the Arroyo regime’s intensified human labor exportation is the most vicious of all labor export policies as it reached new height of neglect and abandonment of its responsibility protecting migrant workers’ rights and welfare.

“Expectedly, we are soon to records and to reports more cases of abuses, maltreatment, victims of human trafficking, labor malpractices, incidents of racism and xenophobia,” Monterona ended. # # #

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-ME regional coordinator
Mobile Phone: 00966 564 978 012

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