Advocate for Worker Protections Worldwide

Target: Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines

Goal: End polices and practices that threaten the safety and wellness of disadvantaged migrant workers.

“They can all go home.” Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s response to reports of widespread abuse of Filipino migrant workers may seem like a simple resolution. For the thousands of workers whose livelihoods depend on their work, however, proposed abandonment of their duties is a naïve resolution at best and potentially destructive at worst. These workers may not be held captive by physical chains, but they face mental imprisonment from a system that cannot, or will not, protect them.

A sharp spike in reports of violence against Filipino migrant workers in the Middle East invoked President Duterte’s response. Rather than work to enforce the pay wage protections and abuse assistance services typically provided to Filipino workers, the government has essentially taken a hands-off approach and left the workers to their own fates. Compounding this problem, a detrimental visa program still stands in place that essentially chains migrant workers to one employee. Therefore, Filipino migrants are left with no options for relocation or for alternative job opportunities in the event of abuse or other employer-induced hardship. Similar practices and lacking protections in Thailand have led to the forced labor of countless workers in the fishing industry. The Philippines—a land once lauded for its increasingly progressive worker protections—cannot embark down the same slippery slope.

Sign this petition today and urge the president of this former American territory to reform the harmful visa work system and to better enforce protections for all Filipino workers.


Dear President Duterte,

You have made incredible strides in providing safe, healthy working conditions for your people. This progression can only continue, however, if all dangerous gaps and loopholes are removed.

A crisis of worker abuse in Middle Eastern countries recently inspired you to urge the return of all Filipino native workers from these regions. Many of these individuals, though, are left with an unbearable choice: they believe that the abuse they endure may be preferable to an alternative life with no means of financial support for their families or themselves. Due to provisions in the visa program that forbid migrant workers from changing employers, workers may feel they must suffer inhumane conditions or practices in order to preserve their only sources of income. They cannot and will not leave these conditions unless they can be assured of protection – protection that must be provided through your regulation and guidance.

Please work in closer partnership with other governments to ensure the well-being of your citizens wherever they may be in the world. Further, consider definitive revisions to an outdated visa program that ultimately does more harm than good.


[Your Name Here}

Photo Credit: Tomas Castelazo

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One Comment

  1. Rosslyn Osborne says:

    “Cleanse ye your eyes, so that ye behold no man as different from yourselves. See ye no strangers; rather see all men as friends, for love and unity come hard when ye fix your gaze on otherness….
    And in this new and wondrous age, the Holy Writings say that we must be at one with every people; that we must see neither harshness nor injustice, neither malevolence, nor hostility, nor hate, but rather turn our eyes toward the heaven of ancient glory. For each of the creatures is a sign of God, and it was by the grace of the Lord and His power that each did step into the world; therefore they are not strangers, but in the family; not aliens, but friends, and to be treated as such.” Baha’i Faith Writings

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