2012 Caucus Assembly

Strategies for Effective Social Protection for Migrant Workers: Manila, November 23-25, 2012

The 2012 Caucus meeting on 23-25 November 2012 in Pasig City, Philippines was co-hosted by MFA, the FES Regional Office in Singapore, and the Philippines’ Congressional Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs, which is chaired by Representative Walden Bello.

Migrant workers from the Philippines participated in this program for the first time, joining the parliamentarians in informal sessions to offer their testimonials and critiques of existing social protection regimes, and to articulate their interests.

This was the first meeting at which parliamentarians from Myanmar were able to join the Caucus, with four parliamentary representatives participating. It was also the first time that the Caucus hosted a representative from Pakistan and representatives from the Palestinian territories.

This Caucus meeting took place immediately prior to the 5th World Social Forum on Migration WSFM, which was also held in Manila, with MFA as the technical secretariat. Four parliamentarians from the caucus were able to join the opening plenary of the WSFM, bringing forward a message of solidarity for this crucial civil society process.

In the final Caucus statement, the parliamentarians agreed to “establish a steering committee to liaise with the technical secretariat and to ensure the implementation of this resolution and subsequent Caucus activities.” This steering committee will be made up of Caucus members, and will give direction to the technical secretariat. One representative from each country will be invited to serve on the steering committee.

The Caucus has focused on social protection for the last few years, as this is a very important issue for migrant workers in Asia. Social security is based on national systems, often explicitly excluding non-nationals from coverage. In addition, many migrant workers (especially migrant women) are employed in the informal sector, which traditionally falls outside of social security system coverage. The parliamentarians and invited experts explored the challenges of establishing bilateral and multilateral social security agreements, considering good practices and potential plans of action. They also discussed the need for gender-responsive social protection measures that take into account the specific vulnerabilities confronting women who migrate.

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