04:27 PM June 16th, 2015
INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
The deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) working as household helpers went down by 20 percent in the first five months of 2015 compared to last year’s data, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Tuesday.
From January to May 2015, POEA said the number of deployed domestic workers from the Philippines decreased from 70,034 to 55,961.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz welcomed the report and linked the decrease to the government’s reforms in advancing the welfare and protection of OFWs, particularly those who are “vulnerable and prone to abuses.”
“Our household service workers reform package is working and I would like a long-term effect of the measures in the package to really move our household service workers from home-based occupations to occupations that not only pay good salaries and benefits, but also guarantee their protection,” she said.
According to the POEA, Saudi Arabia employed 20,949 domestic workers in 2015 compared to 26,570 in 2014; United Arab Emirates had only 215 household service workers this year from 13,440 last year, while Hong Kong recorded 5,825 domestic workers from to 8,409.
Statistics in Singapore (3,798 from 4,853), Bahrain (1,982 from 2,029), Malaysia (1,725 from 4,179), Cyprus (322 from 424), Brunei (147 from 273), and Macau (75 from 143) also went down for the first five months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.
Aside from protective measures like standard employment contracts providing minimum wage of $400 a month, no placement fee policy, and mandatory training, Baldoz said the significant change in data could also be attributed to “strict approval of job orders.”
The statement said the labor secretary required Philippine overseas labor offices in countries where Filipino domestic workers were being deployed to align their training programs with the regulations of the Technical Educational and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
“Baldoz also ordered an on-site skills assessment and certification so that household workers, especially those who are distressed and sheltered at the Filipino Workers Resource Center, can upgrade their skills and consider the option of taking up occupations with higher pay outside of their home-based domestic work,” it added. RC