Protect migrant workers, Aquino urges AIPA

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2014 06:53 PM | Updated as of May 12 2014 11:32 PM

President Aquino is welcomed by Myanmar President U Thein Sein and Madame Daw Khin Khin Win upon arrival at the Myanmar International Convention Center on Sunday. Photo by Ryan Lim, Malacañang Photo Bureau

MYANMAR -- President Benigno Aquino III made a pitch for the welfare of migrant workers as he and other leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) addressed representatives from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) during the sidelines of the 24th ASEAN summit in Myanmar.

In his speech, Aquino made special mention of the rights of migrant workers.

“I would like to emphasize the protection of the rights of migrant workers, of women and children, and of other vulnerable sectors in our respective societies. This should be of the highest priority. For an injustice done to one is an injustice done to all — whether it be from the country of origin or in the country where our migrants happen to be," he said.

Aquino also backed the harmonization of the legal frameworks of the member states.

“AIPA serves as a meaningful venue to develop legislation that may contribute significantly to enhancing the capacities of our respective nations in this regard. Our ability, however, to craft domestic laws that are in line with the agreements and commitments of ASEAN must be done within the context of our respective constitutional systems and should consider the rights and responsibilities of the component branches of our governments," he said.

Philippine foreign policy is largely shaped by the welfare of Filipino migrant workers as an estimated 8 million Filipinos work outside the Philippines.

Filipino lawmakers led by House Speaker Sonny Belmonte joined the meeting.