President Duterte Champions the Rights of Migrant Workers During UNGA
President Rodrigo Duterte calls for the protection of the rights and welfare of migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic during his pre-recorded message at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
After shedding light on the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who continue to serve in the frontlines, the President reiterated his advocacy in protecting migrant workers, regardless of their status, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duterte states, “In these times, we need stronger cooperation in promoting and protecting the rights of migrants, regardless of their migrant status. We must all adhere to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Unless states include all migrants in their response to this pandemic, ‘no one among us is safe, until everyone is safe,’ as the Secretary-General has said.”
The President expressed how Filipino migrant workers have been severely devastated by the pandemic, announcing how they have lost their livelihood, health, and in serious cases, their lives.
In May, the Philippine government launched a repatriation program for OFWs who were affected by the pandemic. According to Duterte, approximately 345,000 OFWs have already been repatriated back to the Philippines and will continue to bring back the rest.
Duterte also extends his gratitude to the countries that supported Filipino migrants by granting aid such as residence permits, access testing, treatment, accommodation, and other related health services.
He also noted that the government has brought back seafarers who were stranded due to COVID-19 restrictions.
He stated, “We pioneered with the IMO (International Maritime Organization), the Green Lane for safe changes of seafaring crews.”
The green lane facility seeks to facilitate the safe and swift travel of seafarers, including disembarkation and crew change subject to health protocols.