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PIA Press Release

Speeches of PGMA and UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon to highlight second migration meet

Manila (29 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will keynote the Second Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD II) today at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where representatives from 162 countries will discuss variety of issues on migration and development.

The theme of the international gathering is "Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development."

President Arroyo is expected to speak on the Philippines' efforts to promote the rights and interests of some eight million Filipino overseas workers and their families.

"It is a great honor for the Philippines to host such a prestigious event considering that the country has a lot of Filipino migrants scattered all over the globe," the President said in an earlier statement.

The Philippines was the unanimous choice of the 125 member states of the International Office of Migration (IOM) and 16 states holding observer status as the venue of the GFMD II.

Brussels, Belgium hosted the first GFMD in July last year. It featured back-to-back sessions of civil society groups (Civil Society Days) and the government groups (Governmental Days).

GFMD is the result of a high-level dialogue of the UN General Assembly in New York in 2006.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will open the forum tomorrow with a speech while Vice President Noli de Castro will give the closing remarks on Oct. 30.

The forum's Civil Society Days, which was attended by more than 200 participants from international civil society organizations, discussed a wide range of topics on migration and development.

Among the issues tackled include protecting the rights of migrants; empowering migrants to contribute to development; fostering more opportunities for legal migrations; managing migration and minimizing the negative impacts of irregular migration; strengthening data and research tools on migration and development; policy and institutional coherence; and regional consultative process at the interface of migration and development.

The two recommendations include the expansion of the civil society's involvement from one to two days and the holding of a joint interface session between governments and non-government organizations in the afternoon of the second day.

Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Corp. chair and CEO, opened the forum's Civil Society Days which will be held until Oct. 28 with the assistance of GFMD's international advisory body and pool of experts and a Philippine organizing committee composed of business, NGO and religious leaders. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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