ofw_protest.jpgIn light of POEA’s Singapore policy, i would like to share some of the reactions i sifted from the internet.

The first part was a report on increased trafficking of Filipinos in Singapore.

The second is a timely reaction from  an OFW. I am sure that what he said is what ALL OFWs feel about this government and the OFW policies made by the POEA.

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Tuesday February 5, 1:17 AM

Philippine Embassy claims human trafficking at all-time high, S’pore says no rise
SINGAPORE: The Philippine Embassy here has claimed that human trafficking of Filipinos is at an all-time high in Singapore.

It quoted an annual report on the topic, which cited a 70 percent surge in cases – from 125 in 2006 to 212 in 2007. The report said this was only a small fraction of all such cases.

Among the reasons cited for the increase were: cheaper air travel because of budget carriers, a network of illegal recruiters and the lure of a lucrative job in Singapore.

It said the modus operandi was to attract women through promises of legitimate jobs in the services sector.

But on reaching Singapore, they had ended up working in pubs and having to pay back a few thousand dollars to their handlers. The report said they got the money through sexual services to customers or commissions from alcoholic drinks.

Responding to media queries on the report, Singapore’s Home Affairs Ministry said all reports of alleged exploitation are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.

The ministry added that there was no increase in the number of trafficking cases reported to the Police. The number was 35 in 2005 and 33 in 2006.

The ministry said of these, none was substantiated as the women concerned did not engage in commercial sex because of coercion.

In 2007, 28 cases were reported and fully investigated.

The ministry added that it has a 3-pronged approach to combat the problem. These include prevention with tight border checks, enforcement action to protect women and help for the victims.

Those who need help can approach the Police or crisis shelters. – CNA/ir 

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POEA over-burdening OFWs

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: February 05, 2008

“POEA to regulate direct hiring of OFWs.” (Inquirer, 1/23/08) This means more burdens for overseas Filipino worker (OFW) wannabes. This means there are new, stricter rules on the direct hiring of professionals by foreign employers, which will terribly affect those who want to work abroad, particularly in Singapore.

Under these rules, direct hiring will be allowed only with the approval of the secretary of labor; but such approval may be issued only after the employers have been screened and the employment contracts have been verified by the labor attaché or the Philippine embassy. There must be a specification as to the maximum number of workers the employer can hire directly. Moreover, the employer has to post a bond of $5,000 for the repatriation of the worker in the event of death, and $3,000 per employee to guarantee the payment of the employee’s salary.

All these, according to Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, who is also the board chair of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), are aimed at strengthening the mechanisms for protecting OFWs.

Now, wait a minute there. Why is it that whenever a government agency, particularly the POEA, speaks about protecting the OFWs, it doesn’t seem to do so? The new rules just don’t sound right and they make me feel like someone is digging into my pocket, again. I hope the Department of Labor and Employment and the POEA will soon realize what they have done! The new rules will add another layer of red tape to the already cumbersome procedures that those who want to make a living abroad must go through.

The reality is, the Philippine government is making life harder for foreign employers to hire Filipino workers and professionals. And this comes at a time that equally qualified foreign workers, such as those from India and Indonesia, are offering their services at cheaper rates.

My father once told me that if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t speak at all.

Now, I say to my government, if you don’t have anything good to do, do nothing at all. Leave us OFWs alone. We’re better off without you!

JAY AFABLE (via email)

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/letterstotheeditor/view/20080205-116809/POEA-over-burdening-OFWs

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