Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has called on the global community to keep working on reforming international migration anchored on decency.
In his remarks at the International Migration Forum 2022 General Debate held in New York on May 19, the outgoing Philippine top diplomat also reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment in ensuring that the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration or the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) will carry on.
“[A]s CGM says, migration is a shared responsibility of the global community. So, work with us and with our partners—IOM, UN Migration Network, social society,” Locsin said.
This as he stressed that “migration is the DNA of being human.”
“We will always wander abroad out of want or for the challenge. Why are we not all crowded where humanity started; but find ourselves Out of Africa spread out on the rest of the planet,” he said.
“So, fight on for GCM and what it stands for: decency as the only way to treat human beings; foremost the stranger in our midst. It was argued in UN debates; the GCM cannot be compelling law. We replied: the compulsion to act decently is way stronger than law. It is defining of what it is to be a truly, human, being,” he added.
The GCM is a non-binding, inter-governmental agreement covering all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. It was prepared under the auspices of the United Nations.
For its part, the Philippines, Locsin noted, has incorporated GCM in its development plan.
He cited the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers to combine all government programs on labor migration.
“Separately all of them worked efficiently and in synchrony to get the job done right and fast. But every department concerned willingly carved out a big part its function for the sake of unity of command. Mine is the first and only country to make domestic law, the 23 Objectives of the GCM,” Locsin said.
He also thanked country partners in the Middle East for working with the Philippines when it embarked on a “landmark campaign” to reform Kafala—the sponsorship system that “snarls labor mobility, resulting in migrant workers treated like slaves.”
The Foreign Affairs chief also highlighted the Philippines’ initiative to mount a mass repatriation program that took home two million Filipino migrants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also cited the country’s move to prioritize migrants for vaccination and establishing a “green lane” to enable crew change with lesser risk of spreading Covid-19.