Friday, July 1, 2011

A Repost From Jerome Aning of Philippine Daily Inquirer

Saudi ban to affect 250,000 Filipinos

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More than a quarter of a million Filipino domestic helpers currently in Saudi Arabia may be affected by a domestic deployment halt imposed by Saudi Arabia starting today (Saturday), according to recruiters.

Emmanuel Geslani, a consultant for several Manila-based recruitment agencies, said between 250,000 and 300,000 Filipino domestics currently in Saudi Arabia may no longer be rehired after negotiations between Riyadh and the Aquino government on a proposed $400 minimum wage for domestics reported ended in deadlock.

Riyadh also objects to a requirement of the country’s new Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of a certification from the Philippine embassy that domestic workers’ rights are protected.

The Department of Foreign Affairs reportedly submitted a report to labor officials stating that Saudi Arabia had a poor record of protecting domestic labor rights.

Geslani said between 30,000 and 50,000 Filipino domestics come home every year after finishing their contracts to take a vacation and await the renewal of their contracts. These contracts, he said may no longer be renewed.

Geslani also dismissed Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda’s statement that there were other countries who may accept Filipino domestics displaced from Saudi Arabia.

“It’s another figment of the imagination of the Aquino administration, which failed to anticipate the serious repercussions of the hard-ball stance of the labor department and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency during negotiations for deployment terms,” he said.

The issues between Manila and Riyadh have been unresolved for the past three months, during which the deployment of about 3,000 domestics per month was suspended by the Saudis, he said.

In separate interview with reporters, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon said the government would be intensifying its “Balik-Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay!” project to “transform the domestics into entrepreneurs.”

According to Baldoz, the government will present displaced Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) with a “ready-to-go roll-out self-employment package of services, consisting of short-gestation training, start-up kits, business counseling, and technical and marketing assistance” for such services as massage, cosmetology and production of soap and slippers, among others. They could borrow a maximum of P10,000, the National Reintegration Program for OFWs, she said.

Some Filipino maids report good to tolerable working conditions in the Middle East. But there are also many stories of domestic slavery coming out of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region. Many domestics are reportedly made to work seven days a week with little food or rest. Some are locked up in rooms and not allowed to go out. They are forced to work for years until their contracts expire. Some have complained of physical and sexual abuse.

Philippine government personnel have been criticized by migrant organizations for failing to do enough to protect overseas Filipinos from domestic slavery.

Reposted From Jerome Aning of Philippine Daily Inquirer


MinnieRunner said...

It is real sad to hear such news. Me, being a previous OFW knows how hard it is. May God bless us all.

Mel Alarilla said...

Hi MinnieRunner,
This maybe sad news today but in the long run, this will benefit all Pinay domestic helpers. It is common knowledge how our underprivileged Pinay domestic helpers are abused and maltreated in KSA with very meager salaries. The government is standing for their rights. Later on, those countries who want the services of our Pinay domestic helpers must shell out just compensations for them and protect their human rights. Thanks for your visit and comments. God bless you always.

Kim, USA said...

I think it is about time that our OFW's and the Philippine government will stand their ground that this is it, this is what we want. It's been years that many of them are mistreated and nothing has been done. With just an increase of wages and some other negotiations which the government has to be firm in pushing it, they can't give it then what we can do is to let them come home and will see who is going to work the way Filipinos work. I know for sure since I knew many of our OFW's working in KSA that many of KSA people like Filipinos because as they said they are good workers and they could talk and understand English. O yun pala di increase ang sweldo, diba? ^_^ Saan sila maghanap nang DH na college graduate? ^_^

Mel Alarilla said...

Hi Kim,
Yes, I totally agree with you. It had been years since our OFWs were mistreated and paid poorly in KSA. When the Philippine government asked for the standardization of their salaries and their protection, the Saudi government threatened not to hire any more Pinoy OFWs which they have done now. Sooner or later they will realize that Pinay domestic helpers are the best in the world and are worth every single Rial that they will pay for them. Right now, let us all pray for our displaced Pinoy OFWs in KSA. Thanks for your visit and comments. God bless you always.

Little Quiapo said...

It is our problem as a people basically. The only reason why these poor OFW's are leaving the country and do jobs that they won't do in their own country is poverty and lack of opportunities.

If there is plenty of opportunities, these Filipina domestic workers won't attempt to leave and be subjects to modern form of slavery.

By this ruling, it can't really stop Filipinos to find other ways to earn for their families. They might try to find another way to provide food on their tables which may also not be as good.

What we need is a long term solution for this perennial problem.

Please visit my blog and comment as well, thank you.


Mel Alarilla said...

Hi Little Quiapo,
Our problem with our OFWs cannot be solved overnight since the problem started during the time of Marcos. We need leaders who will really work for the welfare of the people and not steal money from our impoverished country. Thanks for your visit and comments. God bless.

Yen said...

so sad to hear that but we all know someday it will be resolved .. thanks for the visit...

Mel Alarilla said...

Hi Yen,
Yes, let us hope it will be resolved in favor of our OFWs. Thanks for your visit and comments. God bless you always.

drew carey said...

I know it's quite hard for the Filipino's who are working in Saudi but in reality the Saudi government do only what's good for his countrymen.

Mel Alarilla said...

Hi Drew Carey,
Yes, I agree with you. It's really hard to work in another country with a vastly different cultural heritage. Thanks for your visit and comments. God bless you always.

A.satubuana said...

very nice article. thank to share.. i love it.

Mel Alarilla said...

Hi A. Satubuana,
Thanks for your visit and comments. God bless you always.