Online news item this morning brightens up my day.
Bicameral Committee on Labor and Employment of both House in Congress met yesterday about the proposed law that will replace Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.
Though, for me the right word is to amend some provisions not replacing the law.
The said proposal seeks to strengthen safeguards for overseas Filipino workers. Relevant provisions mandates the POEA to deploy workers “only to countries where the Philippines has concluded bilateral labor agreement or arrangements” provided they guarantee the protection of Filipino migrant workers’ rights and comply with international laws and standards.
I’ve been writing and very vocal with regards to the welfare of our ordinary OFWs particularly our Filipina Household helpers. Their abusive conditions and absence of the concrete protection of their basic human rights in the host countries they’re in is highly at risk. And in spite of the new policy that governs the deployment of FDH, we still have to deal with primarily on how to prevent violation of our rights in a foreign country where laws and policies were different from ours.
Bilateral Labor Agreements between sending and receiving countries actually were there for many years now. But it cannot be fully implemented due to the fact that some countries don’t recognize or comply international laws and standards pertains to migrant workers rights. Our Government even admitted that R.A. 8042 that provides selective deployment have difficulties to implement the policy since the demand was for unskilled workers.
To give POEA an iron hand by the mandate of a concrete new law could probably ease our burdens when it comes to abuses and maltreatment of our ordinary OFWs; and their human dignity be fully protected.
On the other hand, the committee should give ample time to deliberate and study the proposed salient provision “reversing the long-standing but unimplemented policy to phase out the POEA and allow private labor recruiters to regulate themselves”. Perhaps my friend Jun Aguilar could enlighten us on this proposed provision. – BongA