OFWs’ plight tops Aquino agenda in Laos–envoy

Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic—The plight and protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will figure prominently in President Aquino’s talks with European leaders during the 9th Asia Europe Meeting Summit (Asem) here, according to Philippine Ambassador Lumen Isleta.

Isleta said that among the many topics to be taken up in the biennial gathering of Asian and European leaders, President Aquino will give priority to issues related to migration.

Europe is host to many Filipino workers. The majority of the merchant marine fleet of Norway, for instance, is manned by Filipino seafarers.

“In the talks of the President with Europe as a whole, migration will figure quite prominently in the topics he will raise,” Isleta said.

Energy security is another matter the President intends to highlight, she said. The Asem Summit is expected to tackle various issues, including the euro zone crisis, climate change, sustainable development, and economic and financial setbacks.

Mr. Aquino is also expected to seek support for the Bangsamoro, the autonomous region to be formed in accordance with the recently signed peace agreement with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

It is not certain if the territorial disputes in the South China Sea would be on the agenda.

The President’s focus on migration comes on the heels of a recent analysis of the International Labor Organization (ILO) showing that domestic workers in Europe, including Filipinos, continued to be prone to abuse.

According to the ILO, the existence of laws for domestic workers has not been enough to protect them, with weak compliance and gaps in legislation.

Though there are labor inspectors, few domestic workers are eager to report or denounce their employers, it said.

Wrong perception

It further said that the failure to follow the laws was related to the perception of some people that domestic work was not a real form of employment. Many of the domestic workers in Europe are in the informal economy, and include illegal migrants. read more 

Taken from Phil. Daily Inquirer online news (4/11/2012)


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