In line with his advocacy of protecting the most vulnerable, Senator Richard J. Gordon lauded President Rodrigo R. Duterte for making a stand for the protection of overseas Filipino workers, particularly abused female migrant workers.

Gordon expressed support to the President's call for the government of Kuwait and those of other Middle Eastern countries to take immediate measures to protect the dignity and human rights of all migrant workers in their countries or the Philippines will stop deploying workers there.

"Hindi dapat sinasaktan yung mga trabahador natin. Hindi naman tayo timawa. May tungkulin ang mga receiving countries na proteksyunan ang mga Filipino habang nandoon. Hindi pwedeng hindi nila papansinin dahil masyado silang napakataas. Kaya ang galing ng Pangulo nung sinabi niya asikasuhin niyo yang mga yan, kungdi hindi na kami magdedeploy," he said.

Gordon, who is concurrent chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), explained that the PRC advocates and promotes the protection of migrant workers, especially the women migrant workers who have been victims of physical abuse and other forms of exploitation.

The senator said the Philippines should make a stand since Filipino migrant workers have helped receiving countries strengthen their economies. The migrant workers enabled the breadwinners in their countries' households to work double time.

"Hindi yumaman ang mga yan kung walang mga katulong na nag-allow na yung mga asawa nila makapagtrabaho ng doble. Hindi yayaman yang mga yan kung wala ang mga Pilipinong nakatulong sa kanila. Dapat magpapalakas tayo ng loob," he said.

Last week, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued an order banning the processing and issuance of overseas employment certificates (OECs) to all Kuwait-bound workers pending the investigation of the cause of deaths of seven Filipino workers in the Gulf State, which was the fifth top destination for newly-hired and rehired OFWs in 2016. The ban came on the heels of President Duterte's statement to impose a total ban on the deployment of OFWs, particularly household workers to Kuwait following reports of sexual abuses.

Gordon also advised the Department of Labor and Employment to prepare alternate jobs here, or in other countries, for OFWs who would be repatriated. At the same time, he also urged the DOLE to look into the malpractices of recruiters, such as contract substitution, which also embolden foreign employers.

"May mga Filipino recruiters na sila mismo umaabuso sa ating mga OFW, gaya ng pagpapalit sa mga kontrata. Pag nakita nung ibang bansa na mismong mga kababayan natin binabalasubas yung ating mga kababayan, mas malakas ang loob nila na magsamantala sa ating mga kababayan. Kaya dapat tinitingnan nina Sec. Bello yan para yan ay masawata," he said.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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