With the clear and present danger of the financial meltdown and economic recession in the US going global, the rights and welfare of the migrant workers of the world are imperiled more than ever.
The main trend of global migration has been from the Third World to the advanced countries and the main pull has been the promise of a so-called greener pasture across the borders and across the oceans. But the myth of a greener pasture may yet turn out to be a barren wasteland if the worse financial crisis since the 1930’s led to another great depression worldwide.
But every crisis opens up the window of opportunity for change. Today organized labor in the Philippines as one of the leading “labor-exporting countries” emphatically calls for a paradigm shift in the national policy on labor migration towards global protection for the rights and welfare of all migrant workers.
We subscribe to the belief that migrant workers are human beings not commodities for sale.
Thus we call for an end to the policy of promoting overseas employment. The decades-long policy of labor export has not redounded to national development and instead has resulted in grave social costs and has exacerbated the collapse of local industry and agriculture. As a means of job generation, it has become a sorry excuse for government to abandon the goals of full employment and local industrialization.
We demand a stop to the deregulation of labor export. While government has promoted labor export, it has left migrant workers at the mercy of the whims of the so-called labor market and the scams of private manpower agencies. The exploitation for profit of labor export and the train of abuses it necessary entail must halt.
We insist on internationally enforceable rights and standards for all migrant workers. All internationally recognized basic labor rights and standards must be exercised by migrant workers wherever is their host country. The freedom to migrate should be a guaranteed right and discriminatory immigration polices must be cease.
A key element of the promotion of migrant workers rights and welfare worldwide is the establishment of a global movement of workers and unions without regard to borders, race, gender and nationality.
Finally, we oppose the government-led Global Forum on Migration & Development for its framework on migrant workers is precisely “economic development” not human rights. The underlying viewpoint of its stated goals of “maximizing remittances and the benefits of migration” is that migrant workers are commodities for sale not human beings.
Partido ng Manggagawa
Labor Alliance for Better Order and Reform (LABOR)
October 20, 2008