DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo with 2017 ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council Ministers during the Socio-Cultural Community Meeting opening ceremony.

QUEZON CITY, March 9 (PIA)--Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo is batting for the welfare of migrant workers as the Agency hosts ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community meetings.

Taguiwalo explained ASCC is the heart of ASEAN and is instrumental in realizing a regional community that is people-oriented and socially responsible with a view to achieving enduring solidarity and unity among the people and member states of the organization.

“There are many urgent concerns that the ASEAN should address because they have a direct impact and effect on the welfare of ordinary working citizens of all our countries. Take for instance the issue of migrant workers,” Taguiwalo said.

“The main goal of pushing for economic progress should always be to improve the standards and quality of life of all citizens. Because of poverty and lack of employment opportunities, our citizens leave our countries to find work overseas – and many stay within the boundaries of the ASEAN. It is crucial to discuss the status of migrant workers in the different member-states of the ASEAN and to ascertain their conditions,”Taguiwalo added.

“As one community, we should work together to ensure that all our citizens working in other member-states are protected, and their labor rights recognized and respected," she said.

“Our collective efforts are needed in the ASEAN to support reforms that will enable migrant workers to find safe, legal, and decent work and to work in dignity and with the support not only of the government of their home countries, but also of the government of their host countries. Let us protect all migrant workers and treat them as we would our own citizens when they are in need,” she concluded.

Taguiwalo together with Iloilo Governor Arthur D. Defensor, Sr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, welcomed  the ministers of the 10 ASEAN member-states and their delegations during the opening ceremony of the 17th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council Meeting to be held at the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo City, Philippines on March 6-9.

The Department previously led the successful ASCC Pillar launch of the Philippines ASEAN 2017 chairmanship at the Marquee Mall, Angeles City, Pampanga on January 24. 

As chair of the ASCC, DSWD will host this month two top-level meetings, namely: the 17th ASCC Council Meeting and the 22nd Senior Officials Committee for the ASCC (SOCA).

Taguiwalo, Philippines’ ASCC Leader, with ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh will chair the 17th ASCC Council Meeting, while Undersecretary Florita R. Villar, Philippines’ SOCA Leader, together with ASEAN Deputy-Secretary General for ASCC, Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee will chair the 22nd SOCA Meeting.

The latter will be attended by SOCA Leaders from the 10 ASEAN Member States.

In her message during the SOCA opening, Usec. Villar stated, “The Philippines is honored to assume the Chairpersonship of the ASEAN, on the occasion of its 50th or golden founding anniversary. We have chosen Partnering for Change, Engaging the World as our theme and have laid out six thematic priorities to achieve holistic growth, and development.

The six thematic areas include: A people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN, Peace and stability in the region, Maritime security and cooperation, Inclusive, Innovation-led growth, ASEAN’s resiliency and ASEAN: A model of regionalism, a global player.

“Out of the six thematic priorities, I would like to underscore two priorities which concern the ASCC pillar namely: a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN and ASEAN’s resiliency,” Villar said.

The ASCC Pillar is one of the three Community Councils within ASEAN. It is focused on nurturing human, cultural and natural resources for sustained development in a harmonious and people-oriented ASEAN. (DSWD/RJB/LFB/PIA-NCR)