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Manila – The Institute for Labor Studies, co-organized with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Stakeholders' Consultation Series for the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and Philippine labour migration governance, together with International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UN Entity for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (UN Women).

The six-part consultation series, which ran from March 3 to April 7, is classified into the following focal themes: Session 1: Key provisions and functional aspects of RA 11641; Session 2: Gender/women dimensions of implementing RA 11641 and in the operations of DMW; Session 3: Recruitment regulation and processes; Session 4: Welfare services and programs; Session 5: Return and Reintegration; and Session 6: Conclusion and Validation.

The consultation facilitated the sharing of ideas and insights, as well as policy recommendations from all stakeholders. The discussion also encouraged suggestions on how to ensure the effective and responsive operationalization of the newly-created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), consistent with international labor laws and standards, fair migration, gender equality, sustainable development goals, the Global Compact on Migration, and international commitments of the Philippines. Potential issues and concerns on the operationalization of the DMW were also deliberated upon. Outputs from the proceedings, particularly stakeholders’ recommendations, will be submitted to the Drafting Committee of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11641.

Participants included stakeholders from government, trade unions, employers' organizations, recruitment associations, academe, and migrant groups at the local and national levels.

The consultation series had its concluding session on March 31 with ILS Deputy Executive Director delivering the Opening Remarks.

“The enactment of the DMW law is timely, relevant, and radical as it intends to improve the policy and institutional infrastructure for labor migration in the country. I am certain that the DMW will further contribute to the existing mechanisms and strategies built over the last four decades for the following areas of migration governance: fair and ethical recruitment, onsite protection and welfare, crisis response including repatriation and safe return, and long-term sustainable reintegration.” 

Lead ILS representative Senior Labor and Employment Officer Ronell Delerio reported on the consolidated recommendations on key provisions of the law covering sections 1 to 6 of RA 11641.

Among the key recommendations Delerio reported and expounded on were the following: 1. Role of the State to continuously make overseas employment as a choice and not a necessity; 2. Duty of the State to protect and promote the welfare of OFWs and their families; 3.  Commitment of the State to align policies and programs with international treaties on migration; 4. Gender mainstreaming, gender sensitivity and gender responsiveness; 5. Research, data and training on labor migration; 6. Anti-trafficking and illegal recruitment responsibilities/efforts; 7. Propose a policy and strategic framework for reintegration, parameters for what constitutes successful reintegration, and indicators of well reintegrated migrants.

Recommendation on Sections 7 to 10 were reported by IOM (10 min), while Sections 11 to 16 were reported by UN Women, and Sections 17 to 28 were reported by ILO.

Reactions on the said recommendations were also shared by representatives from the four stakeholder sectors coming from employers/recruiters, workers/OFW organizations, government, CSOs), including those from national government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs- Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs (DFA-OUMWA),  Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, DOLE-International Labour Affairs Bureau, DSWD- Office of the Social Welfare Attaché, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and National Reintegration Center for OFWs.

The consolidated recommendations will be submitted to the Drafting Committee of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11641 who is set to release the draft IRR on April 4.

The ILS team members who also participated as facilitators for the breakout sessions and documentors include Labor and Employment Officers include Miraluna Tacadao Bernard Paul Mangulabnan, Camille Dumalaog, Franchesca Rose Castillo, Malorie Joy Mones, Reinerio Alba, Chelsea Nicole Pineda, Cesar Mansal, and Mike Leonardo.

The concluding session was hosted by Mr. Rex Varona, ILO National Project Coordinator for Safe and Fair Programme.