Saying that serving God means serving others, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday pledged to promote safe, orderly, and regular migration by actively facilitating collaboration and “synergy” among key agencies responsible for safeguarding the welfare of overseas workers.
Cayetano made the pledge at the welcome dinner for the Senior Officials of the Asia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on May 30, 2023 held in the City of Taguig.
It was attended by senior labor officials from Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Also in attendance were officials from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) led by Asia and the Pacific Regional Director Atty. Sarah Lou Arriola, International Labor Organization (ILO), ASEAN Trade Union Council (ATUC), Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), South Asian Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC), International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and from the Philippines’ Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) led by Secretary Susan Ople, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Climate Change Commission of the Philippines.
Cayetano, who was Foreign Affairs Secretary in 2017 and 2018 and who as former House speaker was principal author of the law creating the DMW, commended those in attendance for their hard work in keeping migrants safe while working in or even just visiting other countries.
“You take care of people in the most desperate of situations,” he said.
Delivering his pledge, Cayetano said he will use his individual and collective power of oversight as senator “to ensure that the DMW’s policies and programs are consistent with the 23 Objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in the Philippines.”
He was referring to the 23 GCM objectives that are intended for better managing migration at local, national, regional and global level. These objectives include minimizing the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin; ensuring that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation; facilitating fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work; and saving lives and establishing coordinated international efforts on missing migrants.
Cayetano said he will also closely monitor the performance of the DFA, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and other agencies tasked with the protection of Filipinos abroad “in ensuring that they all work in synergy to promote safe, orderly, and regular migration.”
Father of DMW law
After giving the pledge, Cayetano said he is also making a commitment to open his office to monitoring and scrutiny by the DMW and the DFA “so that the monitoring and the calling into accountability will be two-way.”
Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople thanked Cayetano for delivering his pledge, acknowledging him as “the father of the law creating the Department of Migrant Workers” and a former Foreign Affairs Secretary like her late father, Blas Ople.
She also thanked the City of Taguig for hosting the event, saying she appreciated not just the gesture of welcoming the delegates but “the manner of how we were welcomed.”
International Organization for Migration (IOM) Asia and the Pacific Regional Director Sarah Lou Arriola, for her part, congratulated Cayetano for being “the first individual stakeholder in the world who made a pledge.”
She also congratulated the City of Taguig for being the first city in Asia that made the pledge.