UN, PH mark culmination of partnership with strengthened, more progressive policies to protect OFWs in their migration journey
20 June 2023
Bridging Recruitment to Reintegration in Migration Governance: Philippines supports the Philippines’ commitment to the Global Compact on Migration
MANILA, Philippines — A two-and-a-half year multi-sectoral partnership among the United Nations (UN), the public and private agencies and organizations recently culminated, reporting significant gains in protecting Filipino migrant workers through progressive labor migration policies and practices.
These agencies include the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Department of Migrant Workers, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Center for Migrant Advocacy, Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, Development Action for Women Network, Philippine Statistics Authority, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), workers’ and employer’s organizations, Local Government Units (LGUs), Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, and Fair Employment Foundation.
This partnership called Bridging Recruitment to Reintegration in Migration Governance: Philippines (BRIDGE), supports the Philippines’ commitment to the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), specifically its objective of facilitating fair and ethical recruitment and safeguarding conditions for decent work and cooperating to facilitate the safe and dignified return of migrants as well as sustainable reintegration.
“BRIDGE was designed to strengthen labor migration governance in the Philippines,” said Gustavo González, UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines. “Migration governance refers to how the Philippines deals with the challenges and benefits of migration, including the protection of migrants' rights throughout their migration journey—starting from recruitment to their return and reintegration in the country,” added Gonzalez.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), over 1.8 million Filipinos are working in different parts of the world. Sixty (60%) percent or 1.1 million of these workers are women, whose occupations are referred to as “elementary”, which included cleaning, maintenance of establishments, and delivery of messages or goods, tend to put them in a vulnerable position.
In fact, according to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), women migrant workers are often victimized by illegal job recruiters even before they leave the country. In 2021, over 1,800 cases of illegal recruitment were reported.
With support from the BRIDGE Programme, the DMW was able to promote progressive labor migration policies and practices that will intensify safe and ethical recruitment at the national and local levels informed by international standards.
Labor migration agencies conducted localized capacity-building training sessions through the BRIDGE programme. These included sessions on digital literacy to help aspiring Filipino migrant workers avoid online job recruitment scams and human trafficking. Just as important, the BRIDGE Programme also prioritized the reintegration of migrant workers.
Reintegration refers to the process of helping and supporting migrant workers as they return to the Philippines or reintegrate into their communities after working and living abroad. It involves providing various forms of assistance and resources to help them readjust and resume their lives back home.
The COVID-19 pandemic magnified the issues of large-scale job losses leading to mass returns, and the need for effective reintegration frameworks to further support migrant workers’ safe return.
Over 923,000 Filipino migrant workers have returned to the country since 2022. However, due to the lack of competitive wages and decent work opportunities, Filipino migrant workers are not motivated to stay and find work in the Philippines.
The BRIDGE Programme aimed to provide comprehensive assistance and facilitate a smooth transition for returning migrant workers as they go back into their families and communities.
With support from the BRIDGE programme, the local government of Quezon City established the first-ever Migrant Worker Resource Centre (MRC) in Metro Manila which serves as a one-stop center for migrant workers and returnees.
Through the MRC, the Quezon City government, with support from BRIDGE, is facilitating jobs and livelihood opportunities for Filipino migrant workers, returning workers, and their families.
“With the help of our international and domestic partners including the religious sector, we [the Quezon City Government], have managed to put together a comprehensive program for our overseas workers with special attention of mitigating the social cost of migration through a menu of services that covers a full migration cycle,” said Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.
Furthermore, the BRIDGE programme identified opportunities that would leverage existing partnerships and brought different local and international stakeholders together to innovate, build capacity, and provided resources for government and other agencies to develop sustainable solutions and scale up even beyond the programme.
The BRIDGE Programme was funded by the UN Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF). Committed to safe, orderly, and regular migration, the MPTF supports the adoption and implementation of the Global Compact to encourage the uptake of migration approaches that benefit communities of origin, transit, and destination, as well as migrants.
BRIDGE is jointly implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Labour Organization (ILO), and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) under the auspices of the UN Resident Coordinator (UNRC), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). [ENDS]
Notes to Editors
To learn more about the BRIDGE programme, visit this link.
About the UN Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF)
The United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) Office is the centre of expertise in pooled funding for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since 2004, it is the only UN entity dedicated to the design and administration of multi-stakeholder pooled financing instruments, supporting the launch of over 150 pooled funds across the entire humanitarian-development-peace spectrum. In highlighting a new generation of SDGs and humanitarian action partnerships, it has managed over 200 trust funds, received over $18 billion US dollars in deposits, and invested in programmes overseen by more than 50 participating United Nations organizations.
Committed to safe, orderly, and regular migration, the MPTF supports the adoption and implementation of the Global Compact to encourage the uptake of migration approaches that benefit communities of origin, transit, and destination, as well as migrants. The Fund is the vehicle to bring the Compact to life and implement joint action. The joint programmes are the product of collaborative work by members of the UN Network on Migration working with national partners – in government, with local authorities and alongside stakeholders.
About the UN Migration Network in the Philippines
A United Nations Network on Migration Philippines (Network) is established by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) as part of the larger United Nations Network on Migration, to draw from the mandates, technical expertise and experience of relevant UN entities to ensure effective, timely, coordinated UN system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact on Migration. Then Philippines Network will work within the UN Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework (SEPF) in its goal to leave no one behind and focuses on ensuring the rights and wellbeing of migrants of all types. The overall objective of the Philippines Network is to strengthen the capacity and coordinate the efforts of the UNCT in relation to the Philippine government’s implementation of the GCM and its Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.