Mr. Duterte, your misogynistic behavior endangers our women OFWs – SENTRO

Mr. Duterte, your misogynistic behavior endangers our women OFWs – SENTRO

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Instead of manipulating women overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to show his ‘care’ to them, the president should work to improve the protection of OFWs in various destinations overseas and institute workable programs for the returning OFWs.

“For one, Mr. Duterte can expand bilateral agreements to other receiving countries similar to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Kuwait,” said Josua Mata, Secretary General of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro).

The action of the president, who recently kissed a female OFW in South Korea, endangers our women OFWs abroad. It sends the wrong signal to the male populations of receiving countries that such things are “normal” for us Filipinos. This would only make our women OFWs more vulnerable to sexual harassment, considering that many Filipino women migrant workers are already being victimized now, Mata said.

“We would like to remind Mr. Duterte that his sexual innuendoes to female OFWs really expresses his low regard to womanhood and may endanger further the personal security of the considerable sector of Philippine society that helped catapult him into power,” the labor leader also said.

Aside from MOUs for protecting OFWs in other countries, the government should work on a viable Reintegration Program, a genuine reintegration program that takes into consideration the multi-faceted problems OFWs are facing, the reasons in the first place why they decided to find work abroad, Mata also said.

In March, BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. announced that cash remittances, or remittances formally channeled through banks, totaled $2.379 billion in January 2018, representing 9.7% year-on-year growth from January 2017.

Remittances from land-based workers at $1.9 billion and sea-based ones at $500 million also increased by 8.4% and 15.3%, respectively.

According to Mata, with this huge amount coming from Filipino migrant workers which keep the economy afloat, the least the government could do is to fund a sustainable reintegration program.

For years, SENTRO has been organizing Filipino migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. It is now working in Macau and Singapore as well.

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