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Manila, Philippines - ILS participates in the 2nd National Conference on Migrant Health organized by the Department of Health (DOH), with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Hotel Jen in Pasay City last June 17, 2016.


In line with this year’s theme of “Advancing the Health of Migrants through Multi-Sectoral Collaboration,” the conference was attended by Hon. Leah Paquiz, Representative of the Ang NARS Partylist, Dr. Lilibeth David, Undersecretary and Dr. Kenneth Ronquillo, OIC-Assistant Secretary of the Office for Policy and Health Systems of the DOH, Marco Boasso, Chief of Mission and Ricardo Casco, Mission Coordinator and National Program Officer of the International Organization for Migration-Philippines, Carmelita Nuqui, President of the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch, Dr. Gundo Weiler, Country Representative of the World Health Organization, Ellene Sana, Executive Director of the Center for Migrant Advocacy, of IOM-Philippines, Dr. Ferdinal Fernando, ASEAN Secretariat and Assistant Director and Head of Health and Communicable Diseases Division of the DOH and  various representatives from the various member agencies of the Philippine Migrant Health Network.


DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz’s keynote speech, which was delivered by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Deputy Administrator Liberty Casco, commended the DOH for creating the Philippine Migrants Health Network, “which provides a multi-stakeholder platform for our health and migration stakeholders and partners to dialogue on current and relevant issues affecting the health of migrants.” Likewise, the DOLE also thanked the IOM for being a long standing partner of the Philippines in strengthening the Philippine Migration Management’s capability in pursuing initiatives to advance migrants health in the face of vulnerabilities and challenges faced by Filipinos overseas.


“This conference could not be more relevant today when the global community is confronted with health challenges arising from the spread of pandemic diseases that can endanger the health and safety of citizens, travelers and migrant workers in countries where these diseases emanate.  Further, member states of the United Nations, including the Philippines, are now working on the development and review of policies and programs to attain their sustainable development targets for 2030.”


The Secretary’s message also stressed the “the need to identify global standards of security and protection for workers, especially health workers, during war, disease epidemic and other crisis that expose them to health, safety and security risks consistent with the 2015 UN resolution on the protection of health workforce involved in management of infectious diseases.”


The conference highlighted two plenary panels: one for international and another for the inter-agency pillar. POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac delivered a presentation on promoting the health of migrants and participated as one of the resource persons during the commencement of the inter-agency panel. The plenary discussions were followed by thematic presentations, where DOLE Assistant Secretary Ma. Joji V. Aragon presented the Joint Manual of Operations for Providing Assistance to Migrant Workers, which was completed in cooperation with the department’s International Labor Affairs Bureau, currently headed by Labor Attaché Joan Lourdes D. Lavilla. The conference was concluded with closing remarks delivered by DOH Undersecretary Dr. Lilibeth David.


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