A Filipino migrants’ rights group in the Middle East expressed doubt in the recent bilateral accord signed by the Philippine government represented by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) with the Lebanese and Saudi governments, respectively, on providing protection to thousands of deployed Filipino domestic workers.
Last week, DoLE chief Rosalinda Baldoz announced that they have agreed with the Lebanese govt. and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stipulating provisions that will provide protection to deployed Filipino domestic workers in its bid to lift the ban imposed by the PH govt.
Simultaneously, with the signing of a bilateral agreement with the Lebanese, the Philippine and Saudi governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is expected to end the ban hiring Filipino domestic workers that was imposed by the Saudi govt. last year.
‘We came to know specific to PH-Saudi agreement on hiring Filipino domestic workers that the host govt. acceded on the minimum wage of $400/month, a weekly day-off, holiday time totaling to 30 days, and free ticket for the OFW upon completion of her contract,” Monterona noted.
Though, Monterona welcomed the above stipulated provisions of the PH-Saudi agreement, he said ‘the many cases of abuses and rampant labor malpractices were never thoroughly given much attention and serious consideration.’
“The effectiveness of these agreements with the Saudi and Lebanese governments hosting thousands of Filipino domestic workers cannot be determined in the absence of mechanisms of enforcement of what were stipulated in the agreements or MoU,” Monterona opined.
Monterona added the passage and ratification of legislation or local laws in adherence to international labor standards providing protection to migrant workers, including domestic workers, accompanied by specific implementing rules and regulations by the host governments are still desired.
“Protection of Filipino migrant workers is not simply a matter of signing off a MoU between the PH and the host governments; it is more of how to seriously implement the stipulated agreements care of the host governments by passing local laws that would guarantee migrant rights and their protection,” Monterona ended. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator