Press Release / Labor And Employment

Transcript of interview on OFW abuses

 











Q: Walang proper monitoring system or database to monitor household service workers.
 
SJV: Well, isa yun sa napakalaking kakulangan ng ating mga ahensya ng pamahalaan and inamin naman ito ng ating mga secretaries and leaders ng different agencies. In fact, inamin nila na meron namang data na available sa DOLE, POEA, at DFA pero yung sinasabi sa batas 23 years na ito. Dapat ma collate into a  database at dapat maibigay ito sa PSA di pa rin nila nagagawa so yun medyo nakakadismaya and as I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s unacceptable. Ipinatawag natin ang hearing na ito upang masiguro natin na, kasi, alam naman natin na itong mga MOUs na ipinagmamalaki natin and we’re very happy about this, kahit ilang MOUs ang mapirmahan kung hindi naman maiimplement itong mga nakasaad sa MOU na ito mababalewala lang din po lahat. So ito yung key dito eh masiguro natin na maiimplement ito. Yung nakaraaang hearing na yung "kafala" system, yung modern-day slavery e unti -unti na nating na-aaddress at masisiguro na wala na. Kaya yung DFA already mentioned na yung partially compliant ang Kuwait e lifted na nila kaya pumayag ang bawat ahensya ng pamahalaan na i-rekomenda na tapusin na yung deployment ban.
 
Q: What do you intend to do long-term or short-term?
 
SJV: Ang sa atin kanina, pinoint out natin yung mahahalagang provisions sa MOU na kung saan dapat matutukan nang husto once they meet after Ramadan dahil muli, kung ito ay hindi maipapatupad nang maayos, this MOU will be a mere paper lamang at walang maitutulong ito sa ating OFWs. Ang isang good news yung 24/7 hotline na ibibigay sa ating kababayan where they will be able to call anytime, yung passports nila di pwedeng kumpiskahin, di sila pwedeng ikulong, di pwedeng bigyan ng enough time to sleep I think 7 hours a day, yung day off once a week. Malaking bagay po ito na masiguro natin na our OFWs ay nabibigyan ng proper care.
 
Q: Para saan po itong executive session?
 
SJV: Yung executive session is about the protocols kasi we have seen enough dun sa videos na lumabas and alam natin what it led to and there are some information na mahirap na ako ang magbanggit kaya magakaroon ng executive session kasi gusto nating masiguro na di na ito mauulit muli. Alam natin yung nangyari sa ating kababayan na ambassador at gusto nating masiguro na yung protocols are in place, are properly being implemented. And most importantly, perhaps would be it’s an effective protocol kasi di naman pwede na kahit sino nalang maglalabas nito. Again, questions were raised like bakit nilabas yung video, bakit we got the ire of Kuwaiti government kasi parang ang naging dating naging helpless sila, humingi ba tayo ng tulong. We don’t wanna talk about this publicly lahat eh 'no. Kasi ang implication nito kasi sa MOU. But we’ll find out at the end of the day if what we’re going to hear. Because again this is the request of the Secretary fo DOLE and Undersecretary of DFA na magkaroon ng executive session. And just for the record, again we still commend the men and women from DFA, DOLE, POEA for rescuing our kababayans. 
 
Q: May report ba sila sir kung may naparusahan sa pagpost ng video na yun?
 
SJV: We will find out after this and we will find out who is really accountable. We will find out also if the protocols are in place at kung may nag breach. Kung may lumabag dito, ano yung gagawin nila at anong parusa ang ipapataw. A lot of questions we need to ask ano ba yung mga inputs and the basic signals that we need to do something or we need to call the attention of the host country and we need to ask help from them.
 
Q: 'Di ba sir wala namang mali dun sa rescue. Ang protocol ay yung sa social media nila kasi nagpopost sila ng kung anu-ano?
 
SJV: Your concern is also my concern, ma’am, and we will tackle this definitely. Yung question on rescuing our OFWs wala akong question that is why as I mentioned earlier kung sinasabi na maraming irerescue at hindi pa lahat na-rescue, lumabas yung video, ikinagalit ng host country. Na compromise natin yung safety ng ating mga OFWs na kailangan pang i-rescue so these are the things that we need to ask from concerned officials from government agencies. 
 
Q: Sir, tama ba na di nila pina-publicize o nire-reveal who’s responsible for the uploading? 
 
SJV: I think you are correct in saying we need to find out who is accountable but other than that we want to find out what really happened and what we need to do to address this problem.
 
Q: Ilan pa po ba ang kailangang i-rescue?
 
SJV: We will find out. There are about 262,000 land-based OFWS in Kuwait alone. With the MOU signed I suppose na wala na. 235 will be coming home next week. 601 yung nandun ngayon sa shelter natin sa Kuwait at maraming magandang developments ang kinommit ng Kuwait para sa ating OFWs. 
 
Q: Sir, clarification, skilled workers can go to Kuwait anytime?
 
SJV: Yes. Talagang ang on hold pa lang before we deploy ay yung mga household service workers.
 
Q: Up to this time?
 
SJV: Yes po. After the Ramadan po matatapos po yun.
 
Q: Mayroon ba kayong nakikitang remedial legislation required from this experience?
 
SJV: We’ll look into it. Kanina kasi parang it’s crystal clear that there are a lot of laws na hindi naiimplement nang maayos so we’ll look into it. Baka pwede nating iinstitutionalize yung requirement right now from the POEA na ang household service workers ay at least you are a TESDA NC II holder before ideploy kasi mas maraming nabibiktimang hindi adept. Requirement ito now sa POEA but there’s no law so we can probably institutionalize it at gawing batas ito.
 
Q: How will you go about it? You will penalize these people who are not implementing the law?
 
SJV: Ito yung gusto nating malaman, kung sino ang accountable. Kanina nakikita natin napakalaking pasakit sa atin yung naging parang suggestion lang yung batas natin (Sec. 13 of RA10022 or An Act Amending RA8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act) tungkol dun sa pag convene ng ating mga inputs and database ng ating mga kababayan.