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PIA Press Release

PGMA to bat for labor mobility among APEC countries

Manila (24 November) -- The Philippines will push for the inclusion of labor mobility in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agenda to guarantee jobs and improve the welfare of all workers in the region who want to work abroad.

This is what President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will propose during the APEC Leaders dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) at the Ministry of Defense (MOD), said Roberto Romulo, head of the three-member Philippine delegation to the ABAC.

Romulo noted that unlike the facilitation of goods and capital, the human capital aspect, including the movement of temporary laborers, has not been given much attention in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Even if there would be substantial unemployment, there would be a need in the long term for labor from outside their respective Asia-Pacific countries," Romulo said in an interview.

He stressed that labor will always be needed by businesses in all advanced and developed countries, whether it be Korea, Singapore, the US, or Europe.

What is important, Romulo added, is that APEC considers carefully all the implications affecting labor mobility now, including the best practices of labor- importing countries such as Australia and Canada.

"So what we are asking, and the President will ask, is that it be placed on the APEC agenda, not to come out with a final conclusion, but to study it for the long term," Romulo said.

He asserted that it is in the best interest of labor-receiving and labor- sending countries to find ways and appropriate mechanisms to improve workers' plight, such as improving training programs and addressing human trafficking and the high transaction cost for remittances.

Improving the workers flight, Romulo added, would ensure the continued availability of good jobs and the protection of Filipinos who want to work abroad. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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