Some Filipino senators are thinking of implementing a deployment ban among domestic helpers going to the Middle East. This move is to prevent future abuses.
In an effort to prevent future abuses of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) overseas, senators are considering banning the deployment of Filipino domestic helpers to countries which practice the Kafala system – mostly Middle Eastern countries.
In the Senate plenary session on Wednesday, Aug. 17, Karoko Pimentel raised this idea after Senator Raffy Tulfo explained the plight of some OFWs who suffered sexual abuse, physical assault, insults, and were not paid.
“So under this new era, is it possible that in the future we may prohibit the deployment of domestic workers to other countries, especially those with the Kafala system?” The question was posed by Pimentel to Tulfo, who is now heading the newly created Committee on Migrant Workers.
Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and their neighbours use the Kafala system to monitor migrant workers. A sponsor is required for the visa and legal status of migrant workers in order to create cheap and plentiful labor. The sponsor is usually their employer.
“One mistake or one unfortunate incident and we destroy the life of a fellow Filipino,” says Pimentel. “That is my goal, everybody’s goal,” Tulfo said.
A one-strike policy was also recommended by Tulfo on recruiting agencies.
“Magkamali ang isang agency at napatunayan na talagang meron syang nagawang pabayan, then out na sya… Siguraduhin ko na hindi na sya pwedeng mag-apply pa gamit ang ibang pangalan (Once it is proven that an agency committed a mistake and is found guilty, then it will be out. I will make sure that it can no longer apply for registration, even under a new name),” says Tulfo.
Senator Robin Padilla, another neophyte senator, also advocated jail time for the individuals responsible for erring agencies.
An OFW from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait sought Tulfo’s help after being abused by their employers during the session. Among them were females who had been sexually abused, as well as those who had suffered physical trauma like bruises and abrasions.
In addition to attacking government agencies for dismissing such cases, Tulfo also castigated government agencies responsible for OFWs.
Furthermore, Cayetano revealed that an OFW victim was even arraigned rather than helped by a labor attaché.