As a training platform for future policymakers and diplomats, Michael Sarabia, vice president of Far Eastern University’s AIESEC and a junior International Studies major pushed for the protection of migrant workers in the 2nd ASEAN Foundation’s Model ASEAN Meeting (MAM) held in Vientiane, Laos.

The international stint simulated proceedings of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Over 70 student delegates from the regional bloc’s ten member states participated in formulating resolutions, deliberations, and policy recommendations.

The Philippine delegation, as part of the meeting’s format to speak for another country’s situation and to understand as many perspectives on issues, was assigned to represent Vietnam. Sarabia was appointed Senior Official to the Senior Economic Officials Meeting on the ASEAN Economic Community Pillar.

His group proposed the creation of Immigration Data Sharing and the development of Immigration Intelligence to promote effective monitoring of the movement of migrant workers and to track the status of policies concerning transnational crime for both the sending and receiving state. His team also recommended the establishment of a shared fund to help victims of trafficking, monitoring of transparency of recruitment agencies’ compliance with human rights, development of a firmer repatriation process, among others.

“As a student leader and a Filipino citizen, this year’s topic of the MAM has motivated me to present my ideals on developing proactive policies that will ensure the protection of migrant workers because most of my relatives work and reside abroad. With the pressing issues in political security that involves human trafficking, drug trafficking, and migrant worker abuse, policy development is a timely priority,” Sarabia said.

Asked about his greatest learning experience, Sarabia remarked: “Learning the importance of genuine collaboration and consensus were my greatest takeaways. I am glad that FEU has prepared me to work with diverse groups in the classroom and in student organizations.”