Group calls for audit of Filipino migrants fund

A TOP official of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), a Filipino non-government organization (NGO) based in Washington, D.C., called on Sunday for the audit of the reserve and assistance funds for overseas Filipino migrant workers which have remained unaccounted for by the previous administration.

“These funds (estimated at billions of pesos), if used properly, can help immigrants in dire situations,” according to Arnedo S. Valera, MHC co-executive director and spokesperson, after he was appointed as United Nations Representative for Migration and Human Rights by the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN).

The Philippines ranks second in the watch list on human and labor trafficking worldwide for the past two years.

Valera’s new appointment would enable him to participate in international meetings, conferences and panel discussions that tackle human rights and migration issues, the MHC said in a statement furnished to the Philippines News Agency (PNA).

Valera completed the process of securing the UN pass on Jan. 13 at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

Valera and Ms. Janet Salazar of FSUN met with the Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, to discuss ways on how to best secure and protect Filipino migrants in the United States.

“Forging a genuine partnership is a big challenge on the issue on human rights and migration. But we have to find creative ways for partnerships between governments, NGOs, and the civil society to understand fully well the nature of migration and why human and labor trafficking is a serious global problem,” Valera said.

For her part, Salazar emphasized the importance of immigrants both to their home countries and the countries where they work, “thus, governments must find ways that they are protected and given due recognition.”

Cabactulan expressed openness to forging partnerships with the NGOs and the civil society as a whole, adding he will make the necessary recommendations to the government on human rights and migration issues.

Valera will attend the 24th General Assembly of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the UN on Jan. 17-19 at the UN Headquarters in New York to discuss on the broad range of issues covering gender equality, education, governance, and racial equality.

Founded on Dec. 30, 2005, MHC is supported by various partner organizations, volunteers and designated Envoys for Unity and Service nominated from among the leaders and key members of the immigrant/migrant community. PNA

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