PRESS Statement
01 September 2023

Migrante International is very glad that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has suspended the implementation of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking’s (IACAT) policy to increase the documentary requirements for Filipino travelers, most of whom are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipino migrants. 

This suspension is a temporary victory of OFWs, Filipino migrants and all Filipinos as the IACAT’s policy violates Filipino travelers’ right to travel, increases the burden that they shoulder, and does not address the root causes of human trafficking. Indeed, the government cannot ignore the vocal opposition of the millions of lifesavers of the country’s economy. 

The policy’s suspension is a result of the legitimate demand to junk the policy and widespread opposition from OFWs, migrant Filipinos and various sectors of society. Protest works! However, our protests will continue until the policy is finally shelved and no longer threatens Filipino travelers and OFWs. 

We are glad that all senators expressed tacit approval for a resolution, filed by Senator Joel Villanueva, that calls for the policy’s suspension. We also welcome the resolution filed by Senator Jinggoy Estrada calling for an investigation into the policy. 

We reiterate our openness to participate in consultations about the policy. We also assert our main statements on this issue: the government should go after human traffickers, and not their victims. It can only counter human trafficking effectively if it starts creating decent jobs at home — and stop its intensification of the country’s labor export program. 

We continue to call on OFWs, migrant Filipinos and all sectors of society: let us remain vigilant. We have to be on the lookout for efforts to revive this much-hated policy, and make noise when needed. ###