21 January 2021 – The Philippines steered discussions on the roundtable on “Leveraging New Technology to Empower Migrants” during the 13th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development held virtually on 21 January 2021.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola chaired the roundtable panel and shared how social media remains the predominant platform through which overseas Filipinos connect with their families and make their political views heard.

“Overseas Filipinos have proven to be one of the most powerful sectors in the Philippines. In fact, they catapulted a person into Presidency during the 2016 national elections when they campaigned for President Rodrigo Duterte through Facebook,” said Undersecretary Arriola as she began the roundtable discussions.

“The use of internet and social media has indeed become an integral part in the lives of Filipinos, especially Filipino migrants. For a country with more than 10 million migrants, the Philippines promises to continue leveraging technologies to empower all Filipino migrants wherever they are in the world, including by operating ‘OFW Help’, a 24/7 helpline for Filipino migrants in distress,” added Arriola.

The roundtable also had discussions on “Financial Inclusion, Remittances and New Technology”, in which Mr. Peter Tum, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Labour of Kenya discussed the important role of technology in the lives of migrants, including the use of online financial transactions which have made it easier for migrants to send remittances no matter where they are in the world.

Among the panelists of the roundtable included Mr. Ausamah Alabsi, former CEO of the Labor Market Regulatory Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain.  Mr. Alabsi discussed the potential of problem-solving and facilitative apps to help all migrants in accessing social services in their host countries.