– Pinoy Abroad – GMA News Online
Lawmakers from the top five labor-sending Asian countries on Thursday urged host countries to enact laws protecting their citizens working abroad.
In a statement issued on Thursday, lawmakers from the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia called for the passage of laws protecting migrant workers.
The lawmakers made the call to major destination countries for migrant workers such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.
“It is imperative that sending countries and agree on a common strategy to urge receiving countries to adopt laws and regulations that promote the interests and welfare of migrant workers,” the lawmakers said in the statement.
Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello, who represented the Philippines, described the collective stand of the Asian lawmakers as “very historic” in trying to push for the welfare of migrant workers, some of whom are suffering from “miserable, inhumane conditions.”
“This is an important effort to coordinate strategies to urge the governments of receiving countries to pass laws and regulations for migrant workers,” he said in a press briefing Thursday.
Bello, who heads the House committee on overseas workers’ affairs, said the five countries will carry this collective stand in other international organizations such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Decent work for domestic workers
The parliamentarians also urged the ILO to craft an internationally-accepted convention on decent work for domestic workers.
“We recognize the pressing need for strong support of this landmark convention, setting the minimum framework for national legislation that recognizes the contribution that migrant domestic workers make to the development of both their home and host countries,” they said in the statement.
The other parliamentarians who attended the event include Md. Israfil Alam from Bangladesh, Shantha Bandara from Sri Lanka, Mustaque Ahmed Ruhi from Bangladesh, Son Chhay from Cambodia, Shehan Semasinghe from Sri Lanka and Eva Kusuma Sundari from Indonesia.
The Philippines currently has over a million migrant workers abroad, mostly in the Middle East.