June 27, 2022
MIGRANTE International, a global alliance of Filipino migrant organizations, welcomes the recent pronouncement of incoming Secretary of Department of Migrant Workers to look into the demands of OFWs to scrap the Overseas Employment Certificate and other mandatory collections of fees on her first month in office. Household service workers are required by the POEA to pay Balik-Manggagawa fees, Philhealth, Pag Ibig and OWWA membership contributions in order to secure OEC before deployment abroad. Newly hired OFWs also need to settle onerous charges from recruitment agencies and other private and government offices.
Incoming Secretary Ople’s invitation to initiate virtual townhall meetings with Filipino migrants is much appreciated by MIGRANTE International regional members who are looking forward to meet the Secretary and convey to her the issues of land and sea-based members, according to Ms. Joanna Concepcion, Chairperson of MIGRANTE International.
Ms. Concepcion added that major demands raised by OFWs during Duterte’s administration that ended up as failures will be raised to the incoming administration through the incoming secretary of DMWs. These include scrapping the OEC, removing the mandatory charges of fees, setting up more temporary shelters abroad, full legal and counselling assistance to those in jail and right to security of tenure for seafarers which is the top agenda.
Likewise, the case of Mary Jane Veloso who remains in jail in Indonesia will be included in the list of important issues to be raised with the incoming secretary. We hope that Secretary Ople can also help in the immediate return of Mary Jane including other Filipinos who are still languishing in jail abroad, Ms. Concepcion added.
Ms. Concepcion also mentioned, that the use of migration for development will be tackled and we in MIGRANTE International will reiterate our position that migration should not be used as a response to the growing unemployment in the country. Instead, the PH government must ensure domestic employment with security of tenure and just wage for the Filipino workers.
Moreover, the labor marketing strategy for overseas employment must be aligned with the strategy in developing domestic employment in order not to prolong the implementation of the labor export program and come to its conclusion soon. Unfortunately, such overseas labor marketing strategy also influenced POLO officers in their arbitration role during the conciliation proceedings. And most of the time favor the interest of the recruitment agencies and employers rather than the OFWs whom they took an oath to serve, Ms. Concepcion concluded. ##