RP MAIDS’ SANITY AND LIVES ALSO AT RISK – GABRIELA

NEWS RELEASE
13 October 2008

Reference: Emmi de Jesusi, Secretary General, 371-2302 / 0197-3221203

RP MAIDS’ SANITY AND LIVES ALSO AT RISK – GABRIELA

The militant women’s group GABRIELA said that aside from jobs, Filipinas working as domestic helpers outside the country are now more vulnerable to abuse with the economic crunch.

“Employers who are reeling from the economic crisis will tend to be more irritable and might pass on their feelings of helplessness at their defenseless domestic helpers. It is not unthinkable that there
will be more cases of Filipinas loosing their sanity and lives should this economic crisis result to more cases of abuse of Pinay domestic helpers abroad,” said Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA secretary general.

De Jesus said that Filipinas overseas have constantly been victims of abuse. The women’s group cited DFA data last month stating that more than 1,000 migrant workers have been repatriated after experiencing maltreatment from their employers.

According to the women’s group, this vulnerability of Filipinas working as domestic helpers abroad mirrors the weakness of the government’s migration program. “OFWs, especially domestic helpers,
are under the mercy of their foreign employers. Domestic helpers work as individuals and their workplace confined within the home, mostly isolated from the outside world making them more vulnerable to abuse,” added de Jesus.

“The truth is there is no real development in forced migration. Labor-export policy is a means to deflect the government’s inutility in providing jobs for its people within the country. This should serve
as a slap in the face of the Arroyo government as it nears hosting the Global Forum on Migration and Development, bannering the erroneous thesis that migration leads to development and that the Philippines is its showcase,” added de Jesus.

“The Philippine government insists that the fundamentals of the Philippine economy is strong but the fact that it fears the return of OFWs, as they anticipate massive lay off of Filipinos working overseas, only shows that this seeming economic confidence is but a farce,” concluded de Jesus.
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