The international spotlight shined again on the Philippines during two recently held major international meetings on migration and development.
Philippine representatives to these meetings, led by Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations (UN) Offices in Geneva, reported that the Philippines’ unwavering work for the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) was given due credence by no less than Sir Peter Sutherland, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Migration and Development.
Ambassador Garcia said that Mr. Sutherland consistently acknowledged the Philippines as a model country on migration management when he spoke before the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) meeting.
Speaking at the opening session of the summit meeting of the GFMD held in Mauritius last November 21, Mr. Sutherland said that “the Philippines has shown the world a more advanced model in managing migration.”Mr. Sutherland also praised the Philippines for its consistent efforts to protect its nationals abroad, especially those in distress and trapped in crisis situations.
The opening session of the GFMD was attended by 374 government officials handling migration from 139 countries. Representatives of civil society organizations focused on migration and diaspora concerns from all over the world were also present during the opening session. Mr. Sutherland again praised the Philippines when he participated, through videoconference, at the IOM Council High Level Panel on Migration and Development held in Geneva last November 29.
In that videoconference with the representatives of the 149 member states of the IOM gathered in the 101st IOM Council session, Mr. Sutherland stressed that the UN High Level Dialogue (HLD) on migration scheduled to be convened by the UN Secretary-General in October next year in New York should be action-oriented and should develop practical solutions that would benefit migrants as well as countries of origin and destination.
He cited the Philippines as a model of the states’ contribution in the shaping of the outcome of the UN-HLD with the country’s active engagement on migrants in crisis situations and the discussions on harnessing diaspora for development.
The GFMD is a special initiative of the UN to address migration and development in practical and action-oriented ways. It is an informal, nonbinding, voluntary, and government-led process. In 2008, the Philippines hosted the second summit meeting of the GFMD in Manila.
The IOM is the only international organization with the sole mandate on migration and development.
Other than assisting in the repatriation of distressed OFWs in crisis areas, the IOM has projects in the Philippines, such as capacity building for adversely affected communities in areas hit by natural calamities. For 2013, the IOM has allotted $5.25 million for projects in the Philippines.