THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has joined hands with private recruitment agencies to curb rampant abuses committed against Filipino household service workers or domestic helpers abroad, particularly those in high-risk countries.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd signed over the weekend a memorandum of understanding with the Coalition of Licensed Agencies for Domestic and Service Workers (CLAD) which deploys Filipino workers in at least 18 countries, including Singapore, Bahrain, Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Macau, Taiwan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Japan, Russia and Europe.
The DOLE had considered limiting the deployment of domestic helpers because of complaints of abuses.
Under the agreement, CLAD will extend full protection to Filipinos working as domestic helpers abroad through the establishment of welfare help desks from licensed Philippine Recruitment Agencies (PRA).
The agreement will also provide the Labor department, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration access to monitor the status of CLAD members and their workers in their respective workplaces overseas.
“This will help the Labor department and our agencies in ensuring the protection and safety of our Filipino migrant workers on their workplace abroad. We thank our partners from the licensed agencies for their initiative to lend assistance to the government and serve our modern day heroes,” Bello said.
The OWWA will train designated welfare desk officers and provide them relevant information and communication materials. The POEA, on the other hand, shall monitor and supervise PRA members’ compliance to rules and regulations, integrate monitoring and reporting requirements and provision of welfare assistance to OFWs in the Continuing Agency Education Program for licensed agencies.
CLADS will report to the OWWA and POEA any form of abuse and actions taken to assist the worker.
According to OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, majority of the welfare cases received by the agency involve maltreatment, harassment and sexual abuse of workers as well as contract violation and other infraction of the workers’ rights.
“The government and the recruitment agencies both have the responsibility to take good care of our modern day Filipino heroes,” Cacdac said.
Last year, 26 Filipina domestic workers were repatriated from Kuwait. They left their employers because of poor working conditions, maltreatment or abuse and contract violations.