Villanueva calls for review of deployment protocols to curb OFW abuses

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 9, 2021   •   504

MANILA, Philippines — In order to curb cases of abused Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Senator Joel Villanueva has proposed the review of protocols on the deployment of workers.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, urged the government to continue to engage host countries through bilateral agreements to ensure accountability on the welfare of OFWs. This is for host countries to be accountable for the welfare of OFWs.

“Our Minority Leader made a very clear point: ‘A source of law is culture and no form of bilateral agreement and Philippine domestic law can address that culture, like the Kafala,'” he said on Monday (March 8).

Under the kafala system, a practice observed in Gulf states, the immigration status of migrant workers is legally bound to an employer who acts as the sponsor. This requires workers to obtain consent from employers to enter and exit the country, and even transferring jobs.

The International Labor Organization described the system as the state’s “delegation of responsibility … to the private employer to oversee both a migrant worker’s immigration and employment status.”

Based on the data of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, it showed that 4,302 cases of maltreatment and mistreatment were recorded in the Middle East in 2020, while contract violations surged to 21,127 cases in the same region.

The Senator also emphasized the need to protect women, especially when most countries they are being deployed to are “patriarchal in nature”. Villanueva cited government data that showed at least 56 percent, or 1.2 million, of Filipinos eking out a living in foreign countries are women.

“It is important that though OFW issues should be genderless, a large part of the bill must place protections for our OFWs particularly our women because most countries they are deployed to are patriarchal by nature, and by culture,” he said. -AAC

Quarantine period para sa mga OFW, pinag-aaralang paikliin sa 5-7 araw – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Pinag-aaralan na ng pamahalaan ang posibleng pagpapaikli sa ipinatutupad na quarantine period para sa mga umuuwing overseas Filipino workers (OFW) na bakunado na kontra COVID-19.

“Pinag-uusapan na po namin sa IATF, in fact, pina-finalize lang po namin ito na maging five to seven days na lang ang quarantine period sa mga vaccinated po,” ani Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año sa kanyang ulat kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte noong Huwebes.

Sa kasalukuyan, ang mga international passenger na galing sa green countries at fully vaccinated na ay sumasailalim na lamang sa 7-day facility based quarantine at 3-day home-based quarantine pagdating ng mga ito sa bansa.

Ang green list ay kinabibilangan ng mga bansang itinuturing na low-risk sa COVID-19 batay sa incidence rate at case count.

Ang yellow list naman ay moderate risk habang ang nasa red list ay itinuturing na high risk.

Sa ngayon, ang British Overseas Territory na Bermuda lang ang nasa red list habang 49 bansa naman ang nasa green list.

Ang mga tinatawag na green countries ay ang mga sumusunod:

  • American Samoa
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • China (mainland)
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • Hungary, Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Niger
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Taiwan
  • Algeria
  • Bhutan
  • Cook Islands
  • Eritrea
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Nicaragua
  • Niue
  • North Korea
  • Saint Helena
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen

Nasa yellow list naman ang mga bansang hindi nabanggit sa mga nasabing kategorya.

Ang updated list ng territories ay epektibo mula Oktubre 1 hanggang 15.

Hong Kong to allow vaccinated OFWs starting August 30

Marje Pelayo   •   August 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino workers who have been vaccinated in the Philippines will be allowed to enter Hong Kong starting next week upon presentation of vaccination certificates issued by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Sunday.

“The HK government has already agreed to let overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who received COVID vaccines in the country to come and work starting August 30, provided they can present validated covid vaccine certificates issued by the BOQ,” DOLE said in a statement.

This latest development is set to benefit 3,000 OFWs who are awaiting deployment to HK, the agency added.

Once they arrive in Hong Kong, they will undergo quarantine in specific hotels but the expenses will be shouldered by their respective employers.

The Hong Kong government is also coordinating with partner hotels to arrange quarantine accommodations for OFWs.

Filipino workers recently had issues with their employment in Hong Kong after its government refused to allow entry to Filipinos due to varying vaccination certificates issued by their respective local governments.

As requested by the Hong Kong government, the BOQ provided a draft vaccination certificate bearing the holder’s passport details.

Pending inclusion of that detail in the yellow card, the Hong Kong immigration will honor the vaccination certificates issued by the BOQ for incoming OFWs to Hong Kong.

78 Filipinos in Afghanistan awaiting repatriation

UNTV News   •   August 17, 2021

KABUL, Afghanistan — A total of 78 overseas Filipinos in Afghanistan who availed of mandatory repatriation are still waiting for a chartered flight home to the Philippines, the president of a Filipino community organization there confirmed with UNTV on Tuesday (August 17).

According to Joseph Glenn Gumpal, president of the Samahang Pilipino sa Afghanistan, the Philippine government assured they will be boarding anytime.

“Ginawa ng Philippine government kumuha ng chartered (flight) sa Philippine Airlines through US forces kaya dito kami sa military base magbo-board,” he said.

Based on record, there are about 173 Filipinos in Afghanistan, 32 of whom had recently been repatriated.

Some of them fled to safer grounds while there are still others who are hesitant to leave.

“Kasi andito ang negosyo nila, particular iyong tinatawag naming free lancers. May mga negosyo sila rito. Iyong last count ko sa free lancers they were eight pero three yata iyong ayaw umuwi dahil ang iniisip nila the situation is already normal because ongoing na transition,” Gumpal noted.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) meanwhile assured repatriating Filipinos of cash assistance through its program “Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong” (AKAP).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the cash aid is US$200, equivalent to P10,000.

Those who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic will also be assisted through the said program.

Upon arrival to the Philippines, those who are registered under the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are qualified for the agency’s reintegration program which offers livelihood projects and scholarships.

“Mayroon tayong program iyong AKAP, iyong Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong’ sa mga OFW. Mayroon silang makukuhang cash assistance at pagdating dito, kung sila ay bonafide OWWA member ay mayroon silang mga program under doon sa National Reintegration Program ng OWWA for the OFWs,” Bello said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo.)

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