September of 2004 the Filipino Community Leaders Forum-Riyadh made the following recommendation addressed to Madame Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the issue of the deployment of Filipina Domestic Helpers and other concerns.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Malacanang Palace, Manila
Dear President Arroyo,
During the last three months the number of reported cases involving Filipina migrant workers in the domestic industry has enormously increased. The complaints ranged from too long working hours to non-provision of regular meals; from physical maltreatment to solitary confinement; from malicious acts to rape, among others.
The most recent of these cases involved that of 28-year-old Filipina who was allegedly mauled to death by her employer and a co-worker.
We have observed that most of these cases involved domestic workers who are young, single, and most probably had no experience being away from their families.
The number of actual cases could be much higher, considering that many of our compatriots in the domestic industry have limitations in movements, which make it almost impossible for them to visit or contact our embassy and/or consulate to make their situations known.
We expect this condition to even worsen, once the ‘unified contract’ from the Saudi National Association of Recruitment Committee (SANARCOM) is enforced, if not yet made so.
In view of this deteriorating condition, we strongly recommend that your Administration consider the following recommendations for action:
1) The government, through the Secretary of Labor and Employment, make proper representation with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ask for the recall of the ‘unified contract;
2) Restrict the deployment of domestic workers and should not be any younger than 30 years of age.
3) Include as a prerequisite for deployment of female household workers the compulsory educational training of self defense, so that they may be able to protect their selves once already in the jobsites;
4) Immediate implementation of the shared information system, as mandated under RA 8042; and,
5) The government, through the Department of Labor and Employment and related agencies, study and consider restricting the deployment of workers in highly vulnerable occupations in countries with continuing track record of abuse and maltreatment of migrant workers.
We pray for your favorable and expeditious response on these recommendations.
The members of Riyadh Filipino Community Leaders Forum: