(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his call for the abolition of the kafala system, which allows employers in some Middle Eastern countries to control the employment and migration status of foreign employees.
In his pre-recorded speech aired before the High-Level General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President noted that the “behemoth” system “chains the weak, the desperate and the voiceless..to an existence of unimaginable suffering.”
He noted that “millions of Filipinos work abroad under the most difficult and inhumane of circumstances.”
“We call for the abolition of all structures that allow exploitations and oppression of migrant workers,” he said.
While he acknowledged that some reforms had been made, he said the kafala system “must be dismantled sooner or later in the name of justice and basic decency.”
“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 partnerships that respect our people’s agency,” he said.
President Duterte first called for the abolition of the kafala system in public in April, in a forum organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, and the International Organization for Migration.