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The 10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an organization of countries in southeast Asia set up to promote cultural, economic and political development in the region. ASEAN was officially formed in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration. It is actively participated of 10-member international body that represents more than 500 million people living in the region. Set up in 1967 in Bangkok by Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, it has since been joined by Brunei, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.

The 10th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour  (AFML) ” Towards Achieving Decent Work for Domestic Workers in ASEAN” was held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel, Manila Philippines on October 25-26, 2017. The delegations came from 10 member ASEAN countries, government sector,  and civil society organizations (CSO)



The program started with the welcome remarks of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Deputy Administrator Jocelyn Sanchez, followed by presentations from Ms. Asa Torkelson, Policy Advisor on Women’s Economic Empowerment, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Mr. Rene Cristobal (ACE Adviser on Labour Migration), Mr. Ruben Torres (ATUC Secretary General), and Ms. Carmelita Nuqui (Philippine Migrant Rights Watch-Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers) gave an updates on the implementations of previous AFML recommendations. Each member states presents and share information about their contribution to the implementation of the past AFML.

Mr. Nilim Baruah, Senior Specialist on Migration, ILO had a presentation towards achieving decent work for domestic workers in ASEAN. This sub theme cover the international frameworks, national policies, protection with in bilateral  agreements and minimum employment standard.

National policies and regulations on the employment of migrant domestic workers was tackled by Ms. Kumeri Vengadasalam, Senior Manager, Foreign Manpower Management Division, Ministry of Manpower Singapore.

The afternoon session cover the engagement of employers, provision of skills training,  orientation seminars, and on-site assistance; organizing domestic workers and facilitating access to grievance mechanism.

Mr. Madanjit Singh, Senior Assistant Director, Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia had a 15 minutes presentation for guidelines for employers of domestic workers.

Parallel workshops,  delegates held a two simultaneous workshops to develop recommendations based on the sessions taken early in a day.


First activity on the 2nd day was the presentation of workshop discussions, each group was given the chance to present the outcomes of respective group discussions, for group 1 Ms. Nguyen Thi Anh Hang and  for group 2 Mr. Chomyaeng Phengtongwasat was tasked to discussed the recommendations.

Delegates discussed , finalize and adopt draft based on the recommendations indicating the key issues arising from the plenary and workshops. Domestic workers are workers that must be accorded the same rights as other workers, rights that should be protected include: weekly day-off, limit of hours to work, minimum wage coverage, overtime wage coverage, overtime compensation, social security, and clear information on the terms and condition of employment. Civil Society Organisations had consensus in lobbying for ASEAN members states to consider the ratification of ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (no.189). It should be a tripartite support from the workers countries of origin  and destination, promoting the welfare and protection of migrant workers.

(I attended the forum representing Pinoy Expat/Blog Awards, Inc. (PEBA). The event has given me broaden perspective on migrant labor concerns. I hope the forum will amplify benefits to ASEAN Members States especially the vulnerable sector. )

Final TF-AMW CSO Recommendations: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwCfoJni7fhHM05GWUZTNE1fLTg/view

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