New MoU to save Filipinos

DUBAI — The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by representatives of the UAE’s Ministry of Labour (MoL) and the Philippine Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) is expected to minimise, if not totally eradicate, exploitation of Filipino workers through “contract substitution”, said an official of the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.



By Criselda E. Diala

Published: Wed 11 Apr 2007, 8:38 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:38 AM

Complaints

In the recent past, some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have complained that despite signing labour contracts in the Philippines, their employers forced them to sign another contract upon arriving in the UAE. They are particularly perturbed because the terms and conditions of the second contract often vary with the first, which leads to lower wages and unsuitable living conditions and work environment.

Maria Teresa Taguiang, Consul-General of the Philippine Embassy, said one of the main points noted in the MoU was that all the terms stipulated in an individual labour contract, drawn up by the employer in the UAE, signed by the worker in the Philippines, and verified by UAE authorities, would be included in the Ministry’s database.

“Given this point, we can rest assured that the workers will not sign a contract in the Philippines that does not have the same terms as indicated in the MoL’s records,” she pointed out.

In a telephonic interview from Manila, the Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, Libran Cabactulan, confirmed to Khaleej Times that the MoU had been signed on April 9 by the UAE’s Minister of Labour Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi, and Philippine Labour and Employment Secretary Arturo Brion.

Dr Al Kaabi is on a week-long official visit to the Philippines from April 8.

The agreement, Taguiang added, will be valid for five years and will be automatically renewable thereafter.

Apart from ensuring that the rights of UAE-based Filipino workers are protected, the MoU will also pave the way for the creation of a joint committee composed of Philippine and UAE representatives, which will draft a model employment contract. The committee will meet on a regular basis to discuss and resolve any problems associated with the MoU, Taguiang said.


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