Vice President Jejomar Binay, Vice President of the Philippines visits distressed Overseas Filipino Workers. Photo by Dhes Handumon
Dubai - Philippine vice-president spent time with household service workers staying at the Filipino Migrant Centre hosted by Philippine Overseas Labour Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Dubai.
The Philippine vice-president Jejomar Binay took back home with him five distressed Filipino migrant workers who had run away from their employers. Binay who reached the UAE on Tuesday, was rounding off his personal visit on Thursday.
On Thursday, the vice-president spent time with household service workers (HSWs) staying at the Filipino Migrant Centre hosted by Philippine Overseas Labour Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Dubai.
He listened to the complaints of the HSWs and provided flight tickets to four of them while another ticket was sponsored by a Dubai-based Filipino businessman. The beneficiaries were Belsie Espiñe, Rosminda Baui, Leowlyn Tan, Angelyn Tak and Lecrecia Insesto. All of them complained of physical abuse which forced them to abscond.
Philippine Labour Attachè Delmer Cruz said the five were chosen because their cases have been resolved and are considered "travel-ready."
The five Filipinos spoke to Khaleej Times and they said they are "excited" that they can finally see their families but they are "apprehensive if they can find jobs back home."
"Actually, I don't know if I will stay in the Philippines because I'm not sure if I can find a job there," said Espiñe. "I've been an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) for 10 years and I might risk going abroad again to look for work even if I experienced being treated badly."
This sentiment was echoed by Baui who said she and her compatriots "are grateful for the tickets but they are hoping that the Philippine government will not stop their help by just sending them home."
"I hope there is an alternative job waiting for us or at least the government can help us by providing a seed capital to start a small business or livelihood," added Baui. "Most of us also have taken loans back home to finance our travel here and we don't know how are we going to pay them.
Binay, who served as Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns for almost five years, said he will talk to Philippine Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz to discuss the situation of the OFWs. He said most of the Filipinos who experienced problems are unskilled workers, including domestic helpers, who are usually undocumented migrants and victims of illegal recruiters.
"It is imperative to find a solution to this lingering problem. Most of the victims come to work abroad on the pretext that they are tourists. They don't come through proper government channels."
Meanwhile, Migrante-UAE chairman Albert Lozano said Binay should not lay the blame on the "poor Filipino victims for taking the risk of going abroad. It's simple, jobs are scarce back home."