“We need to provide a lifeline for our OFWs in the frontline, in the middle of this global crisis.”
Filipino migrant workers face multiple threats amidst the global pandemic, warned Etta Rosales, Chairperson-Emeritus of Akbayan Party.
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), most of whom are in the service sector, have high exposure to COVID-19 as frontline service providers.
“There are cases in Singapore where Filipino domestic helpers are threatened with termination by their employers if they decide to stay at home. They not only live in fear of falling ill, they are also victimized by abusive employers in the middle of this pandemic,” Rosales said.
“Where our governments have mutual cooperation to bring our workers to their countries to work, the host countries should help bring our workers home or ensure their safety in the workplace,” Rosales added.
“Our overseas workers are in hospitals, hotels, sales, telecommunications, aviations, domestic work and cruise ships. They are also in industrial cities and parks where workers are concentrated in apartment buildings and accommodations. We need to make sure our kababayans are safe and healthy,” said Rosales.
There are over 10 million Filipinos living and working in more than 238 countries and territories, including countries with high recorded cases, from China, to Italy to the US.
Akbayan further warned on the deep impact to the world economy, that would threaten the migrants’ opportunities for work.
“Our modern-day heroes, continue to send remittances to their families in the Philippines even as they face highly insecure situations in their host countries,” Rosales said.
There have been multiple reports of Filipino working migrants stranded, with destination countries imposing travel bans. Domestic workers, seafarers, construction workers and many others have lost their jobs, while those who remain employed have been subjected to forced work amidst unsafe working environments.
“We urge the DOLE and DFA to consider providing response packages for OFWs and their families'” said Rosales.
“This is a situation of global proportion, urgent and real. Government must provide cash aids and repatriation services for those who wish to go home. For those who wish to stay on, immediate social protection in destination countries, and the implementation of safety precaution against COVID19 and access to health and psycho-social services must be secured,” added Rosales.
“It is time we give back to our OFWs who have sacrified years of their lives alone in another country. Kailangan natin iparating: Hindi sila nag-iisa, may nag-aalala at nag-aalaga din sa kanila,” Rosales concluded.