Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is asking the government to review the Philippines’ labor policies and that of other countries before deploying more Filipino workers abroad.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is urging the government to take a deeper look and review the Philippines’ labor policies and that of other countries before allowing deployment of Filipino workers abroad.
This comes after the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development started its investigation on the deaths of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), where lawmakers learned that existing laws on the protection of migrant workers are not properly being implemented.
In a press conference, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, a member of the committee, said it is high-time for a review of labor policies especially in countries where the number of OFWs were large, for assurance that Filipino workers are protected from abuse by their employers.
Gatchalian also expressed disappointment upon learning from a hearing that the government has willingly allowed OFWs to work in Kuwait despite its non-signing to any treaties in protecting the welfare and rights of migrant workers, which, is a requirement of the Republic Act Republic Act 10022 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Workers Act of 1995.
“Before we send our countrymen to other countries, the government should make sure that the host country has enough laws to protect migrant workers,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian also insisted that “partially” labor-compliant countries such as Kuwait should be banned from receiving OFWs.
During the hearing regarding OFW protection, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella shared that theu rated Kuwai as partially-compliant because it responds to cases filed by the Philippine government.
But, according to Gatchalian, these are inadequate grounds, saying that the problem lies behind Kuwait’s lawlessness.
The senator also furthered that Kuwait’s failure to sign agreements is proof of its indifference to the welfare of the migrant workers.
“Because if the truly cared, they would have created laws (on migrant worker protection). But for the longest time, they are not cating on it, meaning, they really don’t care,” he said.
“We should review our policy…We should not send people until they are fully-compliant, that they will provide migrant workers the protection,” Gatchalian added.
Gatchalian also expressed support to the call of other senators to extend the deployment band of household workers, who are considered most vulnerable in countries where abuses are rampant.