New projects for Filipino workers abroad launched

Jul. 20, 2018

by Blessy Bench Salvaña, HCDC Intern

Participants from trade unions and civil society organizations pose during the launching of Migrant Recruitment Advisor in a hotel in Davao City on July 19, 2018. (Photo from the Migrant Recruitment Advisor-Philippines’ Facebook page)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — As a pilot initiative, International Labor Organization (ILO) works closely with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to develop the Migrant Recruitment Advisor (MRA), and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) to develop the Migrant Rights Violation Reporting System, also known as HAMSA.

MRA is a global web portal where migrant workers can get information about recruitment agencies. The aim is to empower migrant workers to make informed decisions about the recruitment process.

MRA is ILO’s Integrated Program on Fair Recruitment (FAIR Project) that has been exploring new ideas and solutions that contribute to reducing deceptive and abusive recruitment practices.

ILO partnered with ITUC, which has affiliates in the Philippines, and provides accurate information on recruitment to both prospective workers and migrant workers already living and working in countries of destination.

For HAMSA, it is a link within MRA that will direct MFA networks of rapid response teams to recruitment-related violations providing safe and efficient ways for migrant workers to provide feedback on their recruitment experiences.

More importantly, to report violations if or when they occur is the first step towards empowering workers to support one another and to access networks of service providers that can facilitate access to justice.

It was stated that in the Philippines, the recruitment industry is dominated by private recruitment agencies, which are linked to their counterpart principals or foreign placement agencies in the destination countries.

Jillian Roque, the MRA National Coordinator said the Philippines is one of the major countries of origin for migrant workers and around 6,000 of Filipino workers leave every day.

“We feel that it’s very important to ensure that from the very first stage of the migration process (or) recruitment, we ensure that workers have adequate information about their rights and about their recruitment process itself,” she said.

So far in the Philippines, there is nothing similar to MRA because what the country has is only the listing of licensed recruiters in the Philippines from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration(POEA) website, and it is not enough.

On the other hand, Hussein Macarambon, the National Project Coordinator of ILO said that they want to promote fair and ethical recruitment through their global flagship program.

The purpose of this program is for workers not to be exploited and charged, and since this is one of the FAIR principles that ILO wants to promote.

He also said that it is to ensure that labor migration governance is improved since the Philippines is a major origin country and they think that while it has a sophisticated system of recruitment, they can still partner with the government, workers, and employers in the Philippines.

“With this, we have a component on creating a web platform where people can have access to rights-based information. They can claim the rights and make sure that fair recruitment is integrated into the industry.” he concluded. (

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