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President Aquino to push for migrant workers’ rights in ASEAN Summit

altMANILA—President Aquino is set to lobby for the implementation of the rights of migrants workers during the Association of Southeast Asian Nation Summit in Bali next week.

In a statement, the Philippines will push for the need to finalize a binding instrument for the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of Rights as soon as possible.

The said instrument is important for the country as there are about 700,000 Filipino migrant workers in Southeast Asia.

President Aquino will meet with his ASEAN counterparts, as well as the leaders of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, when he attends the 19th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits on November 17 to 19.

The President will also promote several advocacies as part of the Philippines’ contribution to building an ASEAN Community

The Philippines will also push for measures to combat human trafficking such as the adoption of the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons.

The other advocacies that the Philippines will advocate include:

Education.The Philippines supports the ASEAN implementation of the five-year work plan on education, which organizes the objectives and strategic priorities of ASEAN on education aimed at enabling individual ASEAN member states’ education sector to offer progressive, systemic and organizational capacities, practices and programmes that support and promote ASEAN’s education access and quality as well as the region’s competitiveness in the global market. The program has been approved and endorsed for implementation during the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting in Brunei Darussalam in January 2011.

Maritime Security.The Philippines welcomes the finalization of the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea and underscores the importance of a peaceful resolution of the disputes in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea. President Aquino at the 18th ASEAN Summit also offered a framework to transform the West Philippine Sea to a Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation (ZoPFF/C) with respect for international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the DOC.  The Philippines believes ZoPFF/C is the next step after the Guidelines and contributes to efforts in achieving peace and prosperity in the region.

Non-Proliferation.The Philippines values the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) as our region’s contribution towards a world free from nuclear weapons. The Philippines is committed to continue to work towards an ASEAN consensus to resolve our differences particularly on the outstanding issues in the SEANWFZ Treaty and find ways for Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) to accede to the Protocol of the SEANWFZ Treaty. The Philippines further emphasizes the importance of implementing the three pillars of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) namely, nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Food Security.Being a region that has to deal regularly with natural calamities, there is a need to ensure that mechanisms are in place in order to guarantee continuous food supply in ASEAN. The Philippines is pleased with the signing of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Agreement at the 11th Meeting of the ASEAN Agriculture and Forestry Ministers and the Ministers of Agriculture of China, Japan and Republic of Korea (AMAF Plus Three) held on October 7, 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The APTERR is a facility that the Philippines can tap especially in times of distress.

Disaster Management.As part of the collective efforts at the formation of an ASEAN Community, the Philippines actively pursues undertaking ASEAN initiatives in building “disaster-resilient nations and safer communities” in the ASEAN region.  The Philippines looks forward to the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center) at the 19th ASEAN Summit this November in Bali.

Connectivity.The Philippines strongly advocates the creation of a nautical highway through the Roll-on/ Roll-off (RO-RO) concept in addition to road connectivity to complete the missing links in the region. The Philippines looks forward to working with ASEAN’s dialogue partners on connectivity initiatives, especially on the feasibility study on the ASEAN Roll-On/Roll-Off (RO-RO) Network and Short-Sea Shipping, a Philippine initiative included in the 15 flagship programs in the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.

Biodiversity.The Philippines underlines the importance of ASEAN Member States to ratify the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB) Establishment Agreement to provide the ACB with full capacity to lead the region in its biodiversity efforts. The region is home to the highest marine life on earth with 25% known coral species and 3,000 species of fish.

Drug Trafficking.The Philippines is committed to the vision of a drug-free ASEAN through the successful and effective control of illicit drug activities, and enhanced coordination on anti-drug efforts among ASEAN Member States.

Human Rights.The Philippines remains steadfast in its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN through the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). (Ofw Journalism Consortium)

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