POEA: 41 countries facing 'OFW ban' are 'small markets'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2011 07:49 PM | Updated as of Nov 03 2011 03:49 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The 41 countries hosting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) but have not complied with the Philippine government's conditions in receiving OFWs are not considered big markets, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Carlos Cao said.

“The cumulative total of the deployment data since 2005 up to the first month of 2011 is 25,897…not actually a very big figure. These are smaller countries,” Cao told ANC.

Cao added the non-compliant certification will only affect new hires and not OFWs already in those countries.

“These will not affect those with existing contracts. We cannot process anymore new hires,” he said.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said OFWs could still face problems even if they're deployed to any of the 125 receiving countries certified by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as compliant with the requirements of the Republic Act 10022 or the amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.

She said the conditions set under POEA Governing Board Resolutions Nos. 06 and 02, Series of 2011 will not mean a "total absence of disputes and violations."

“There could still be violations. What is important, the mechanisms are in place to enforce the rights arising from the employer-employee relationships of our workers with the foreign employers in those countries,” explained Baldoz.

In both resolutions, the POEA listed the countries where deployment of OFWs can continue because they complied with the requirements that protects the rights of Pinoy workers.

“What the DFA certifies would be those that would have signed certain multilateral labor conventions that protect migrant workers or would have bilateral agreement with us or have national laws protecting migrant workers and concrete measures to show that these measures are put in place,” said Baldoz.

Protection guarantees

The DFA certifies a host country government as compliant if it has any of the following guarantees that protect Filipino migrant workers:

a. It has existing labor laws and social laws protecting the rights of workers, including
migrant workers;
b. It is a signatory to and/or ratifier of multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions relating to the protection of workers, including migrant workers; and
c. It has concluded a bilateral agreement or arrangement on the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers.

The DOLE chief said the Philippine government is not closing its doors to the 41 host countries certified by the DFA as non-compliant.

“It really all depends on the country whether they feel that they would need bilateral negotiations with us. But we are open and ready any time or they can inform us that we have laws that are now being put in place and concrete measures…things like that and that will be favorably considered by the Philippine government,” she said.

Baldoz noted that companies in non-compliant countries which operate globally are exempted from any prohibition.

“The law exempts certain companies operating in these non-compliant countries because they are looking at the adequate protection that is across all countries being provided by these companies in global operations,” she stressed.