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VP Binay renews call for free borders for OFWs, kin

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Wednesday reiterated his call for the lifting of migration borders for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families.

Speaking during the 60th Anniversary of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Binay said that the separation of OFWs from their families was a “social cost that is so closely tied to migrants that may prove too dear to pay” if ignored.

“Being separated from family creates a great deal of stress. We know how hard this is to bear, but in order to build futures for their children, countless breadwinners endure isolation from their spouses and kids,” he said.

The Vice President said that the impact of migration on OFW families is “clear and present” and added that migrant workers should be granted “ample opportunity and freedom” to visit their spouses and children back home.

“In working for the prosperity of the family, the family itself cannot be a victim or casualty,” he said.”

He proposed that governments of source and destination countries engage in bilateral or multilateral agreements.

“Within our mutual arenas, we must work to reduce the barriers between a migrant worker and his family. Let us advocate fewer restrictions to having a migrant be joined or visited by his family at the destination country,” he urged the IOM.

“Ideally, we should be able to work towards an international treaty which shall bind all governments,” he added.

Binay, who is also the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, made the same call during the 7th Asian-European Meeting (ASEM) Interfaith Dialogue last month.

“Lifting immigration barriers must now be seriously considered, while retaining the necessary safeguards against human trafficking, illegal recruitment, international terrorism and other transnational crimes,” he previously said.

Close to 10 million Filipinos, or one-tenth of the country’s population, are working abroad as migrant workers.#