Duration:
Jan 03, 2022 to Dec 29, 2022
Funding Agency:
Philippine Institute for Development Studies
Focus Area(s):
Human Development, Labor Markets, and Poverty

The COVID-19 was an unprecedented event that tested the capacity of the Philippine government in addressing the effects of a crisis of enormous magnitude. This has highlighted the need for system improvement and reforms that will best serve migrant workers and their families during shocks. Based on the 2018 National Migration Survey, less than half of migrant workers (47%) are active member of a social security and pension plan, while around two-thirds (69%) have health insurance coverage (Philippine Statistics Authority [PSA] 2019). In addition, many OFWs are working in especially vulnerable sectors, like service and sales and elementary occupation, that were heavily affected by the pandemic. On the other hand, a decrease in remittances would be devastating for the families left behind who use this money for their necessities (e.g., education, health, food). The return to the country of hundreds of thousands of Filipino overseas workers, both land-based and sea-based, was not only a matter of simple repatriation process, it entails a multi-dimensional support system that encompasses health interventions (e.g. testing for COVID-19, treatment, and health monitoring), accommodation and logistical support for quarantine, and economic interventions in the form of financial grants to workers who did not get any support from their overseas employment, among others. As such, there is a need to revisit gaps in migrant workers' protection on-site and after their return in the event of a crisis.

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