Bishop demands more protection for domestic workers

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Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga (Photo taken from Santos' FB account)

MANILA, March 17, 2016— A Catholic bishop has demanded for more protection of Filipino domestic workers after a new study showed that domestic work is largely “undervalued and unprotected.”

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the Philippine government must stand up for the rights of local and  overseas domestic workers, stressing their vulnerability to abuse.

“The reason why we are always appealing and we are always promoting the rights and the dignity of our OFWs,” Santos, who chairs the bishop’s commission for the pastoral care of migrants, told Radio Veritas.

No social security

A total of 60 million of the world’s 67 million domestic workers have no access to any kind of social security coverage, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday.

“When domestic workers become old or injured, they are fired, without a pension or adequate income support. This can and must be redressed,” said Isabel Ortiz, head for social protection department of the UN labor agency.

The report noted that vast majority of domestic workers are women, accounting for 80 per cent of all workers in the sector globally.

It added that the largest gaps in social security coverage for domestic work are concentrated in developing countries, with Asia and Latin America representing 68 per cent of domestic workers worldwide.

Confiscated passports

However, the study finds that social protection deficits for domestic workers also persist in some industrialized countries.

In Italy, for example, some 60 per cent of domestic workers are not registered with, or contributing to, social security systems. In Spain and France, 30 per cent of domestic workers are excluded from the coverage.

Bishop Santos also said the abusive practices such as confiscation of passports by foreign employers continue to contribute to a system of exploitation against OFWs.

He said OFWs whose passports and other key documents are being held hostage by employers to keep them from leaving their work. (CBCP News) 

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