Tulfo wants strict vetting on foreign employers to protect OFWsBy RICHA NORIEGA,GMA News
Senator Raffy Tulfo pushed for a stricter vetting process on foreign employers to prevent the maltreatment and abuse of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
On Wednesday's session, Tulfo said many OFWs were “habitually abused” by their foreign employers, while the agents and recruiters lure them with a promise of a better life.
“The reality of the situation is that many of the countrymen are habitually abused by their foreign employers. Even more of them need repatriation and are stuck in our embassy’s shelters that are ill-equipped to harbor them safely,” he said during his acceptance speech as the chairperson of the committee on migrant workers.
“They are cramped together and made to sleep and eat like animals while our embassies abroad struggle to get adequate funding in order to provide a safe and healthy environment for our stranded OFWs to await the next available flight back home,” he added.
The senator said it is timely to direct embassies abroad to impose stricter vetting measures among employers to protect the OFWs.
“We, standing as one, have the opportunity to pass laws that would authorize our embassies abroad to institute offices dedicated solely to the vetting of prospective employers and the enforcement of the laws that are meant to protect our OFWs,” Tulfo said.
He then welcomed the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the concurrent committee in the Senate.
“Magkaroon po tayo ng paraan na mas mabilis masundo ang ating OFWs na pinagbabantaan na saktan ang kanyang amo,” Tulfo said.
(Let us find a way to help our OFWs who were threatened by their employers.)
“At magkaroon po tayo ng paraang bigyan ng nararapat na representasyon ang ating OFW na may kaso laban sa kanyang amo upang maramdaman niya ang suporta ng inang bayan kahit nasa lupa ng banyaga,” he added.
(Let us also find a way to give proper representation to our OFWs who have a case against their employer so that they can feel the support of their country even in a foreign land.)
Not part of Islam’s teachings
Senator Robin Padilla, a Muslim convert, said he felt hurt after learning that some of the recorded abuses among OFWs were predominantly in Muslim countries such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
“Meron lang po akong gustong linawin. Ang mga ganap na ito ay hindi po katuruan ng Muslim. Wala po ito sa katuruan namin. Katunayan, ang turo po sa amin ng Propetang Mohammad, kailanman kahit sinong tao dapat tratuhin mong pantay-pantay lalo na po ang tinatawag nating servants, kasambahay, katulong. Sila po ay pinoproteksyunan ng Islam,” Padilla said.
(I want to make it clear. These are not part of the Islam teachings. Islam and the Prophet Mohammad teach us to treat everyone equally, especially servants and helpers. They are protected by Islam),"
"Kaya po sana hinihingi ko ang patawad ng aking mga kababayan sa ganap na ito sapagka’t ang mga gumagawa po nito ay matatawag nating mga Arabo. Huwag po natin tawagin na mga Muslim,” he added.
(I ask for forgiveness from my fellow Filipinos for what was done by these Arabs. We should not call them Muslims.)
The DMW earlier said that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants to enhance the overseas Filipino Worker database management to find out the number of OFWs in different countries, even the number of those who want to return home, to see what services could be provided to them.
The President also instructed the department to oversee to the welfare of OFW families.—LDF, GMA News