It was reported that close to seven million - or two-thirds of about 10 million worldwide migrants living and working in Asean - come from within the region.
Leaders of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday formally signed a consensus that would protect the rights of migrant workers.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, chair of Asean this year, led his guests, including Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, to sign the document at the end of the three-day 31st Asean Summit and Related Summits.
The landmark document has provisions that include prohibiting employers from confiscating their employees' passports and allowing workers to join unions.
The Philippines and other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are optimistic that the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) will be implemented soon.
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The bloc identified the protection of migrant workers' rights as one vital measure to help bring forth a secure and prosperous ASEAN community.
"Given the enormous security and economic challenges confronting our allies in the Middle East, this consensus agreement shows that next to working within our borders, the next best thing may be to encourage our OFWs to look within our own region for legitimate jobs through proper, legal channels".
"Meanwhile, efforts to initiate, enhance and strengthen bilateral labor arrangements can draw inspiration from this historic agreement".
"We in civil society appreciate the finer details and hard work that went into the signing of the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of Rights of Migrant Workers".
According to the World Bank, almost seven million or two-thirds of about 10 million worldwide migrants living and working in Asean come from the region.
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