Opening address at the 12th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour: National Preparatory Meeting in the Philippines

By Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines, delivered by Mr Hussein Macarambon, FAIR Project National Coordinator at 12th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour: National Preparatory Meeting in the Philippines, 3 September 2019, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 03 September 2019
  • Esteemed representatives from the Embassies of Australia and Canada,
  • Representatives from Government Ministries, trade unions and workers’ organizations, employers’ organizations, and civil society,
  • Colleagues from the ILO,
  • Distinguished guests,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
Thank you for joining us today as we meet again for another AFML national tripartite-plus preparatory workshop.

Each year, the ILO supports these national-level dialogues in preparation for the regional AFML. Your voices matter so we ensure that all stakeholders contribute to the design of the Forum’s recommendations to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers.

Our discussion today will allow our Philippine delegates to share ideas and represent us this September at the regional AFML in Thailand.

It comes as no surprise that we meet here today to focus on the future of work. We know that the world of work is rapidly changing. New forces are transforming the world of work, which include technological changes, climate change, and demographic shifts.

The need for action is urgent. The Global Commission on the Future of Work proposed a new approach, which is a human-centred agenda for the future of work.

Ultimately, a human-centred agenda requires investing in people’s capabilities, in institutions of work, and in decent and sustainable work.

As we discuss today how to prepare for the future of work, and how to ensure the rights of migrant workers, I would like to share ten recommendations from the report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work.
Investing in people’s capabilities is a cornerstone of a reinvigorated social contract. It is not just about investing in human capital but supporting broader human development, including rights. Recommendations under this pillar include:
  • Lifelong learning for all;
  • Supporting people through future of work transitions;
  • A transformative agenda to make gender equality a reality; and
  • Universal social protection through the strengthening of systems.
The second pillar is increasing investments in the institutions of work. Recommendations include:
  • Establishing a universal labour guarantee that protects and ensures fundamental workers’ rights, an adequate living wage, limits on hours of work and safe and healthy workplaces.
  • Expanding time sovereignty to better balance work and private lives;
  • Revitalizing collective representation through social dialogue; and
  • Technology in support of decent work and a human-in-command approach to technology.
Recommendations under increasing investments in decent and sustainable work as third priority for action include:
  • Transforming economies to promote decent and sustainable work such as rural economy, care economy and green economy; and
  • Shifting incentives for long-term investments in the real economy towards a human-centred and business and economic model.
Labour migration will continue to play a significant role in our labour markets. It is critical that we do not forget migrant workers as we endeavour to achieve a human-centred agenda.

Women migrant workers constitute majority of annual labour migration flows including from the Philippines.

Aside from making gender equality a reality, it is necessary to also forge a future of work that is free from violence, as affirmed in our newly-adopted Violence and Harassment Convention, known as ILO Convention 190.

With these recommendations, we must invest in migrant workers’ capabilities, including providing access to learning skills and recognition of those skills.

We must also invest in institutions that can and will benefit from the work of migrants, and ensure institutions provide adequate living wages, safe workplaces, and limits on hours of work, particularly in sectors like domestic work.

During the 11th AFML, digitization was discussed as a platform to promote decent work for migrant workers in ASEAN.

As a continuing concern about the impact of technology on the future of work, there is a need to invest in incubating, testing and disseminating digital technologies that would address certain gaps in labour migration governance.

These innovations could guarantee payment of minimum wages, portability of skills and social protection for migrant workers, or inclusivity of social security that covers even those in the gig economy and other digital labour platforms.

The future of work may include better opportunities and jobs, but we together, as governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, civil society, and international organizations, must work collectively to ensure labour markets are inclusive and protect the rights of workers, particularly migrant workers.

With this in mind, today we aim to:
  1. Take stock of our national-level progress in implementing the recommendations of previous AFMLs;
  2. Discuss the 12th AFML theme – The Future of Work and Migration – and sub-themes;
  3. And prepare national recommendations on the future of work and migration as it relates to The Philippines and ASEAN.
Today’s recommendations will allow the Philippine delegates to reflect our collective voice at the 12th AFML in Thailand this September.

I want to thank you all in advance for your inputs towards the AFML recommendations. Your knowledge and insight are critical to advancing the rights of migrant workers.

I would also like to thank the organizers and hosts of this meeting, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Global Affairs Canada for your continued support and enabling this tripartite-plus dialogue to take place.

Thank you!