Good morning, everyone!
Thank you for giving me the floor.
My delegation considers the agenda item on international migration and development of critical importance, particularly under the present circumstances.
The impact of COVID-19 is harshest for those groups that were already in vulnerable situations before the crisis, such as migrants in irregular situations, and migrant workers with precarious livelihoods. The vulnerabilities faced by migrants and migrant workers, and their significant contribution to the global COVID-19 response as well as to the achievement of the sustainable development goals, should be recognized and addressed in ensuring that no one is left behind.
In this regard, the Philippines thanks the Secretary-General for his report on international migration and development which presents the latest global trends on international migration, activities undertaken by the UN system to support countries in integrating migration policies in national development plans, and progress in measuring the SDGs and migration-related targets.
We wish to recall the Joint Statement that our delegation spearheaded, along with Bangladesh, Benin, El Salvador, Fiji, Ireland, Mexico, Morocco, and Portugal, and supported by 103 Member and Observer states on the impact of COVID-19 on migrants, which among others supported the Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on COVID-19 and People on the Move.
We also look forward to the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration as well as the preparatory processes for the 2022 International Migration and Review Forum. We request the Secretary-General to ensure that, in his report for the international migration review forum, experiences and challenges of countries in implementing migration-related Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as were presented in the high-level political forum, are duly reflected.
The Philippine migrant sector is one of the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipinos and their families.
The pivotal role played by Filipino migrant workers, particularly Filipino seafarers, health care workers and household service workers, has been keeping the economy afloat with the continued discharge of services, and bringing in inward remittances to the country, and these Filipino migrant workers are continuing to work in the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic, keeping people and societies safe and healthy.
We are concerned with the estimated drop in global remittances by about 28% in the current year. The Philippines attributes more than 10% of its GDP from remittances. The impact of the projected drop of these remittances is thus very real, particularly to the families and communities that depend on them.
As thousands of Filipinos abroad continue to lose their jobs, the Philippine government launched a massive and unprecedented repatriation program. More than 345,000 overseas Filipino workers needed to come home. We have brought back half, including most of our seafarers who were stranded because of COVID-19 restrictions, and we continue to bring back the rest as we speak.
We wish to echo here the expression of gratitude conveyed by our President, in his statement during the High-Level General debate, to countries that have provided Filipino migrants, among others, access to testing, residence permits, treatment and health-related services during this pandemic.
In the last few months, we have heard one clear message. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed existing inequalities within and among societies and countries; and the only decent and effective way forward is global solidarity and strengthened multilateralism.
The year 2020 is defined by this global crisis. It is also our singular opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to leave no one behind. Let us adhere to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and strengthen our cooperation to promote and protect the rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status.