ANTI-crime advocates are urging the government to come up with new policies to ensure the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, similar to regulations in place in Singapore.
In a nine-page recommendation submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) suggested the hiring of more welfare officers, an effective monitoring system for OFWs and a bilateral labor agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait.
The VACC emphasized the need for the Philippine government to take a strong leadership role in existing multilateral mechanisms and enhance cooperation with host countries to address workers’ problems.
The organization was referring to mechanisms like the Colombo process, a regional consultative scheme on the management of overseas employment and contractual labor for countries of origin in Asia; and the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, meant to “highlight the potential of contractual labor mobility to benefit overseas workers as well as the development of both countries of origin and destination in Asia.”
“Labor-sending countries are often powerless relative to host countries. We recommend that the Philippines take a strong leadership role in these multilateral mechanisms,” the VACC said.
The group called for more welfare officers in Philippines embassies to look after the OFWs and a stronger monitoring system that would allow embassies to keep tabs on all Filipino domestic workers and allow them to report their status to authorities.
The VACC also recommended that the Philippine government ask Kuwait to accredit a partner non-government organization (NGOs) that would protect the rights of foreign workers.
The group noted that NGOs played a key role in helping out Filipinos in distress just like in Singapore, where the VACC partnered with a local NGO in protecting workers rights.
The VACC opened a chapter in Singapore after the 1994 execution of domestic helper Flor Contemplacion, which caused a diplomatic row between the Philippines and Singapore.
Contemplacion was sentenced to death by hanging after she was found guilty of killing fellow Filipino worker Delia Maga on May 4, 1991.
The VACC recommendation was based on the study conducted by Ed Araral, a professor at the Lew Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and Fah Roing, the coordinator of the organization in Singapore.