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Bishops, recruiters and advocates express support for reforms to uplift conditions of overseas maids

Bishops, recruiters and advocates express support for reforms to uplift conditions of overseas maids

Philippine Labor and Employment Secretary Arturo D. Brion welcomed the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, responsible licensed recruitment agencies of overseas Filipino workers, and migrants' rights organizations on the government's effort to raise to US$400 from US$200 the minimum salary of overseas Filipino household workers, and globally uplift their conditions.
The CBCP's Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, the Philippine Migrants Rights Watch, and the Association for Professionalism in Overseas Employment composed of non-fee charging licensed recruitment agencies, issued separate, but unanimous positions endorsing the pursuit of reforms in behalf of the vulnerable migrants.
The three groups' position papers were read in a press conference at the DOLE presided by Labor Undersecretary for Employment Danilo P. Cruz.
In a position paper read on behalf of Bishop Precioso Cantillas, CBCP-ECMI Chair, by the Reverend Fr. Edwin Corros, ECMI Executive Secretary, the CBCP organization commended the Governing Board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, chaired by Secretary Brion, for issuing resolutions reflecting the government's firm determination to pursue reforms that would globally improve the conditions of domestic helpers overseas.
The ECMI specifically hailed the imposition of a minimum age requirement of 25 years old for overseas DHs; a minimum wage of US$400; the no-placement fee policy; and the training of pre-qualification certificate requirement. Its position mainly reflected the three groups' unanimous endorsement of the government's moves.
"Having raised the minimum age requirement of DHs to 25 years old, our household workers (abroad) would have better psycho-emotional and physical preparation for the work," adding that "the minimum salary of US$400 is the most natural thing (in hiring Filipino) skilled workers," the ECMI said.
On the other hand, ASPROE president Rene E. Cristobal reflected the group's fullest support, saying that the pertinent resolutions issued by the POEA Governing Board in pursuit of better pay and conditions for overseas DHs "are vital to the welfare, well being, and empowerment of the overseas Filipino household workers."
ASPROE expressed strong support for the resolution prohibiting placement fees saying that "the vast majority if not totality of individuals seeking jobs overseas are from the less privileged portion of society," and thus, "placement fees... may not be necessarily moral and just."
Finally, the PMRW, in a similar paper signed by Dr. Fabbio Baggio, PMRW vice president, also backed entirely the new policies set into motion by Brion for the upliftment of the vulnerable overseas DHs. Meanwhile, the PMRW, in its statement read by the group representative Ma. Elisa Pumarada, quoted International Labor Organization Convention No. 181 that "private employment agencies shall not charge, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, any fees or costs to workers."
"Placement fees pose a heavy burden to aspiring migrant workers and they are a primary source of abuse and exploitation to applicants before they leave the country," the PMRW said.


Updated : 2021-03-06 04:52 GMT+08:00