News/Philippines: Estrada Orders Stronger Protection for Overseas Filipinos

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Subject: News/Philippines: Estrada Orders Stronger Protection for Overseas Filipinos
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Jun 19 2000 - 10:16:30 EDT


Estrada Orders Stronger Protection for Overseas Filipinos
Xinhua General News Service, April 7, 2000

MANILA, April 7 -- With the assistance of the international community in
stopping human trafficking, Philippine President Joseph Estrada has ordered
a far more aggressive effort to protect the rights of Filipinos based abroad.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the president is now batting
for the prosecution of violators of overseas Filipinos ' rights.

"Before, our role in DFA was to protect. Now the president wants us to
prosecute those who violate our Filipino migrants' rights," DFA
Undersecretary Benjamin Domingo said Friday in a radio interview.

According to Domingo, this will be made possible with the Philippines'
participation in a 21-nation network that monitors human trafficking.

Domingo also expressed confidence that the DFA can do the job, as new
international laws allow a government to prosecute violators of migrants'
human rights, wherever they may be.

He said the protection to be provided by the government would extend to
some 2 million undocumented Filipinos overseas, many of them believed to be
abducted or forcibly moved.

Domingo said the president has already signed an executive order mandating
stronger protection for Filipinos overseas and stepped-up efforts to stop
the trafficking of Filipino women and children.

He said the United Nations will also provide assistance in stopping human
trafficking and protecting the rights of migrant workers.

Data from the government showed that there are about 7 million Filipinos
working abroad and they remitted more than 7 billion U.S. dollars back home
in 1999.
Melanie Orhant <<morhant@igc.org>>
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