One year after Yolanda: DOLE-sponsored work-abroad job fairs spell double jeopardy for Yolanda survivors

885502_10152297575969788_6830395852290430658_oA year after supertyphoon Yolanda, those who availed job vacancies abroad offered in Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-sponsored job fairs in Yolanda-stricken areas are not better off. Instead, their conditions have gone from bad to worse.

This was the statement made by Migrante International as the nation commemorates the first year anniversary of the supertyphoon that has caused thousands upon thousands of lives, homes and livelihood in Eastern Visayas on November 8.

“A year after Yolanda, still no relief, still no justice and still no accountability from the Aquino government. Worse, the government has placed survivors-turned-OFWs in double jeopardy by offering them ‘dirty, dangerous and difficult’ jobs abroad in DOLE-sponsored job fairs which made them vulnerable to illegal recruitment, violations and abuses,” said Sol Pillas, Migrante International spokesperson.

Pillas said that this should serve as a warning to job-seeking survivors, as the DOLE is again set on launching similar job fairs come November and December 2014, with DOLE Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz marking them as “a sign of progress” after Yolanda struck a year ago.

“This government has the nerve to claim progress when all it has done is to feed on the desperation and vulnerability of victims and survivors. These job fairs do not benefit survivors at all, but rather offer them up to abusive recruitment agencies for the government’s profit and labor export,” she said.

Pillas cited the case of OFW Mary Ann Miralles, 26 years old, who was recruited to work as a domestic worker in Dammam, Saudi Arabia during a DOLE-sponsored job fair in Ormoc City, Leyte. Her recruitment agency, Joseline International Manpower Corporation, was one of the accredited agencies in the job fair. She was able to leave the country last February 12, 2014.

Last September, Miralles’ family sought the help of Migrante upon learning that she fell ill due to over-fatigue and abusive work hours. She told them that she is being made to serve 10 people in one household for at least 20 hours a day. She also complained of verbal abuse from her employer. Due to over-fatigue, she collapsed and fainted last September 13, 2014.

She has filed for repatriation and is still awaiting appropriate action from the Philippine government.

“One year after Yolanda, we bear witness to how the Aquino government preys on calamity-stricken areas to intensify its labor export policy at the expense of the rights and welfare of our countrymen. The labor export policy is nothing but a big business venture from which big businesses and corporations profit, with OFWs as their milking cows,” Pillas said. ###