Monday, December 12, 2016

DOLE dads discourage
Plans to work abroad

CORTES, Bohol, December 9 (PIA)—If you think working abroard would be your easy way out of poverty, think again. 

No less than labor officials based in Bohol have warned, and advised: given a better option, rather stay and work here than try it out somewhere. 

Having been witness to the cases of maltreatment, poor accommodations, lack of food and inhumane working conditions, labor specialist Cora Monroid would rather work here than go back abroad. 

“No, it is not easy, that is why we discourage people from going there,” Monroid, who had a stint as a worker in the government established Bahay Kalinga, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 

Bahay Kalinga, or government centers of care and service is the transformed Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Center (MWOFRC). 

Set up as a half-way house for distressed overseas migrant workers,Bahay Kalina is a refuge for the maltreated mostly female workers especially domestic helpers while preparing them for productive reintegration back into the Philippines. 

The Philippine Overseas and Labor Offices (POLO) in Saudi Arabia set up the Bahay Kalinga and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) sets up specific measures in their operations which are designed for gender-balanced sensitive values oriented center refuge for disadvantaged female migrant workers. 

For its operations, Filipino DOLE labor specialists like Monroid were given the chance to work in these centers.

There, Monroid said she could not stop pitying the Filipino workers who were forced to abandon their jobs and their Arab employers for maltreatment, sexual harassment, rape, inhumane working conditions and still several other poor treatment cases. 

Several cases of stow-aways from their Arab employers make the mistake of picking up taxi services to ferry them to embassies. 

“This is a very common mistake,” said Bohol labor chief German Guidaben, who also had a stint of foreign duty in the Middle East. 

“Most women who flee from their employers and pick taxis end up getting raped instead, then are sent to police stations where they get raped further,” he said. 

“It is a harsh place to be, and with no other contacts, a stow-away could be an easy sexual victim,” Guidaben warned. 

“Even drivers who make the mistake of hitting desert camels get harsh penalties,” stressed Guidaben who added that laws in the middle east do not favor foreigners. 

“They would reason out, if you did not come here, the camel would not be hit,” he recalled.

“I saw a Filipina nursing a baby while a toddler was holding her skirt,” Guidaben narrated, the woman a rape victim who still tried working so she could have money to bring home. 

There is really a huge difference when you stay and work here in the Philippines, DOLE officials said. 

Speaking at the Kapihan sa PIA to announce the holding of the Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW) Day set December 21 in Dumaguete, both Guidaben and Monroid stressed that working abroad may sound grand, but the experience may not be as good as the promise is. 

Over this, both officials urge low level workers to reconsider the option for working abroad amidst these maltreatment cases.

Both also issued the same alarm to those who get to be tricked by illegal job recruitment agencies who promise great, but then are basically into human trafficking.

If it can be done, we discourage you from working abroad, it is always better to stay here, DOLE said. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

DOLE Bohol officials discourage unskilled Boholanos from working abroad, especially for domestic helps as both officials narrate gripping tales of worker maltreatment, sexual abuse and inhumane treatment of workers at the Kapihan sa PIA. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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