MANILA, Sept 22 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (PHL time) called anew for the abolition of the kafala system — a scheme that allows employers in Middle Eastern countries to control the employment and migration status of foreign workers they employ.
In a speech during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly UNGA), Duterte said the kafala system is a “behemoth that chains the weak, the desperate, and the voiceless to an existence of unimaginable suffering”.
“Millions of Filipinos work abroad under the most difficult and inhumane of circumstances. We call for the abolition of all structures that allow the exploitation and oppression of migrant workers,” he said.
“Nothing can justify the continued existence of this unjust system,” Duterte added.
The President first made the call for the abolition of the kafala system in April during the Virtual Forum on Labor Mobility and Human Rights organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
At the UNGA, Duterte said acknowledged that reforms have been done but there is a need to completely abolish the kafala system.
“While reforms have been made, the kafala system must be dismantled – sooner rather than later – in the name of justice and basic decency,” he said.
“The Philippines seeks stronger partnerships to protect the rights of Filipinos and realize the full potential of our nation. But let me be clear – what we mean is partnership that respects our peoples’ agency,” Duterte added. (MNS)