CHR to put up OFW rights observatory

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2018 04:13 PM

CHR to put up OFW rights observatory 1
Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila on February 12, 2018 after repatriation from Kuwait. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Saturday it plans to put up a migrant workers’ rights observatory for the collection of data on the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The observatory will address labor gaps and forward recommendations on how the government can better promote and protect the rights of Filipino workers abroad, the CHR said.

"We call on the government to similarly address threats to human rights both on the domestic and international fronts," it said.

The formation of the observatory comes amid reported slays and abuse of Filipinos overseas, most recently the brutal death of Joanna Demafelis, a domestic helper in Kuwait.

Her remains were found in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in the Gulf state in February, prompting the Philippine government to ban the deployment of Filipino workers there and to initiate a repatriation program.

The CHR said it has extended financial assistance to Demafelis' kin and lauded the deployment ban, saying it fulfills the government's mandate to protect migrant workers.

"Hence, the deployment ban in countries where the rights of our OFWs are in peril is a fulfillment of this obligation. It is an act to be expected from the government," the agency said.

"Every Filipino and Filipina deserves the government’s equal protection wherever they may be—regardless if it is about alleged human rights violations linked to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs or those concerning the rights of migrant workers," it added. 

Some 10 million Filipinos are working abroad, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy.