Trafficking fears raised over Filipino workers ban
(CNS): The Philippines government has stated that it will stop processing of new workers to the banned 41 countries including Cayman by the middle of November, but a member of government there has warned of an increase in human trafficking cases as a result of the decision according to the Philippines media. On Wednesday The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) adopted a recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to stop the deployment of Filipino migrant workers to countries that lack laws to protect their rights but there are now concerns that it could but workers at greater risk.
“Should this go on for a long term, I foresee that we shall have a drastic rise in human trafficking because the demand for Filipino labour is dictated by market forces,” Ako Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe told Manila’s Sun Star. Batocabe said the government should have categorized the countries that lack protective measures for migrant Filipino workers first instead of immediately banning the deployment to these countries. Only those with serious violations should be banned, he said.
“This is a very drastic move by our government but I would like to believe that this is just on a short-term basis designed to strengthen the leverage of our government in negotiating for better terms and security for our workers in these countries,” Batocabe said.
However government has said it is already looking into treaties with governments of the countries affected
"We are not shutting the door to any host country but paving the way to reach a bilateral agreement and strengthening the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and the host countries. We do not want to antagonize them," DFA Ambassador Vic Lecaros said.
Despite the ban, OFWs will still be allowed to apply to countries with companies and contractors with international operations as provided by the Amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 which includes the Cayman Islands.
CNS has contacted the CI government to comment on the situation and to establish if a treaty will be signed in order that workers who are here will be able to renew contracts legal and whether local employers can continue to recruit from the Philippines and is awaiting a response. There are estimated to be more than 2500 Filipino workers on permits and the workers comprise the second largest group of foreign national migrant works after Jamaicans.
Check CNSBusiness on Monday for more on the ban and its impact on local business
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