ANTIPOLO City, Nov. 4, 2011—There had been a “mixed” feeling among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as the Philippine Government imposes a deployment ban in 41 countries that are evaluated as Republic Act 10022 “non-compliant.”
Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez in Manila said in a statement, the deployment ban is quite a positive development since the government is now “getting serious” in its campaign against abuses on migrant workers. However, he said, they still doubt the government’s readiness to address the repercussions and implications of the ban.
“How does the government plan to absorb the inevitable increase in unemployment that the ban will cause? We must keep in mind that our OFWs are forced to work abroad because there are no decent wages and jobs here. Do they have a concrete sustainable employment program for our OFWs? Kung seryoso sila sa pag-ban, dapat ay seryosohin din nila ang paglikha ng trabaho at pagbigay ng dagdag-sahod dito sa Pilipinas. If not, this recent move will just be mere lip service,” he said.
Martinez also worries about the proliferation of illegal recruitment as deployment ban yields a rising number of human trafficking victims. This was, he said, already proven in history.
“We have handled numerous cases of human trafficking in host countries where deployment bans are in place, namely, Jordan and Iraq, and more recently, Syria and Bahrain. In some of the cases, some officials in government posts abroad are involved in the trafficking of our kababayans,” Martinez said.
Aside from Syria, Jordan and Bahrain, there were also reports of illegal entrance of Filipino nurses in Libya. This, according to Martinez, is courtesy of some labor attaché there and local employment agencies in the Philippines.
“Now that the ban is fully implemented, will there still be government posts to assist OFWs in distress? Who will they run to?” Martinez asked the government. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]