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Coffee and the future

The word “future” in the title of this article should come with a caveat because many of the things I wanted to talk about are actually happening – in various stages of gestation – in the present. Changes in technology and communications are so fast the future seems to be just around the corner.

I wrote in my column last week on the importance of hosting the 31st ASEAN Summit amidst our transition from a foreign policy of fear to one which is assertive of our interest as a sovereign nation and an equal partner to the world. For this reason, the theme chosen for this year’s ASEAN is very appropriate, “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.”

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The Philippines is set to host next week the 31st ASEAN Summit, a semi-annual meeting of the leaders of the 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Our country is the chair for this year, the 50th anniversary of the regional association founded in 1967.

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Last October 17, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi City from “terrorist influence.” It was a welcome end to the bloody siege which broke out on May 23. The official proclamation followed the news that the Armed Forces has neutralized the top two leaders of the Maute Group – a local terror band which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS.

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The World Bank report “Migration to Opportunity: Overcoming Barriers to Labor Mobility in Southeast Asia” also cited the fact that the Philippines has many different agencies that “are devoted to different stages of the migration process.” It referred to the POEA as being “responsible primarily for migration management, and its Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) that perform “management tasks such as registering foreign employers and overseeing compliance with POEA policies.” They also noted the work done by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in protecting the rights of migrant workers.

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Last week, media outlets reported a World Bank study which praised the Philippines’ governance framework with respect to migrant workers. The report of the World Bank Group which was contained in their 2017 study entitled, “Migration to Opportunity: Overcoming Barriers to Labor Mobility in Southeast Asia” considered the Philippines as a model for policies concerning overseas workers.

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