“The list does not seek to pass any value judgement on any country,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario said in a statement. “It serves as a crucial benchmark for all government agencies concerned to work for the betterment of the safety, welfare and working conditions of our nationals”.
In order to protect the more than 10 million Filipinos working abroad, the government decided to sign migration agreements only with countries who comply with the Republic Act 10022.
The latter certifies host country governments as compliant if its labour and social laws protect the rights of workers; if it is a signatory to and/or has ratified of multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions relating to the protection of workers, including migrant workers; and if it has concluded a bilateral agreement or arrangement on the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers.
The Philippines has the third largest group of workers abroad after China and India. The worldwide economic crisis has made matters worse at home. About 2,000 Filipinos emigrate a day. The United States and Europe, which have the largest overseas Filipino communities, are the destinations of choice.
At present though, Arab countries are preferred because of a strong local demand for workers. In 2008, more than 600,000 Filipinos travelled to the Middle East and this despite the exploitation of workers and persecution of Christians.