PH Shares Lessons Learned in Pursuing MRAs 

Geneva MRAs

GENEVA 18 May 2019 — The Philippines elaborated on pragmatism, flexibility, transparency and worker empowerment as lessons learned by the Philippines in pursuit of mutual recognition arrangements on qualifications (MRAs) at a workshop organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group held at the Room XXVI, Palais des Nations in Geneva on 03 May 2019.

Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva Ambassador Evan P. Garcia shared the Philippine experience in pursuing MRAs. 

“First, pragmatism – as long as the purpose is to create the best conditions for the migrant worker, negotiations can be at any level, whether in the context of a free trade agreement, an economic partnership agreement, a labor agreement or even at the level of a cooperation arrangement. Bilateral agreements can be very effective as they would necessarily be specific to contexts and conditions between sending and host countries and their respective legal frameworks. Such conditions are sometimes not precisely addressed in multilateral agreements where there are more parties involved,” Ambassador Garcia said.

“Second, flexibility – a willingness on both sides to negotiate in the context of forces within the labor market. Third, transparency – a readiness to discuss barriers, such as language, lack of confidence in education or training, concern about brain drain, etc., and find solutions to overcome them. Fourth, worker empowerment - provide information, social protections, conditions for dignified labor, protection of human rights, and recognize that workers are human beings, they are not widgets or simple factors of production. They are people with families, with stories, with a community. We should never forget,” he added.

The Ambassador noted “The need to recognize and mainstream the Global Compact on Migration and the migration discussion into our free trade agreements” as a take away from the workshop. END

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