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Legarda Conducts Dialogue with OFWs

March 2, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, conducted a dialogue with members of the Global Filipino Diaspora Council (GFDC), an overseas Filipinos group, and explained some of the legislation that will benefit them and address their concerns.

Among the concerns raised by GFDC members present during the dialogue conducted at the Senate are the trafficking of Filipinos, protection of domestic workers, and vulnerability to climate change of indigenous peoples.

“Two weeks ago President Aquino already signed into law the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which is a stronger version as it covers attempted trafficking and accomplice liability. We are hopeful that this will effectively address the problem of human trafficking,” said Legarda, principal author and sponsor of the law.

“We also have an existing law which covers the protection of indigenous peoples especially in this era of climate change—the 2009 Climate Change Act, which created the Climate Change Commission. This commission is supposed to map out an action plan on climate change, which is important for our IPs who are among those vulnerable to extreme weather events because they usually live either in our forested areas, coastal areas, slopes or foothills,” she added.

The Senator also explained that the Senate has concurred in the ratification of at least 16 treaties that will be beneficial to Filipinos overseas, such as the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers; the Maritime Labour Convention for the protection of the rights of seafarers; the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and with China, which establish a legal framework that obligates the Contracting Parties to assist in the investigation, prosecution and suppression of criminal offenses and proceedings related to criminal matters; and the Convention on Social Security between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Spain, which ensures that Filipinos in Spain are secured upon retirement.

“The Philippine Senate’s concurrence in the ratification of ILO Convention 189 is historic as it paved the way for the treaty’s entry into force. My next campaign will be with the parliaments of the world and their foreign ministries so that all other nations, especially where there is a concentration of Filipino domestic workers, will also concur in the ratification of this Convention,” Legarda said.

“We have the laws in place and we are monitoring the implementation of these laws, but we cannot do it alone. We cannot solve this problem of climate change, indigenous peoples’ vulnerability, trafficked victims, etc. We need you, the very vigilant overseas Filipinos, who have the resources, the time, and the passion to help address the concerns of our citizens and confront the challenges that our nation is faced with,” Legarda concluded.***