Solons urge abolition of ‘kafala’, PDOS at SUCs

BACK HOME. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) queue for some instructions as they arrive at NAIA from Kuwait. (MB image)

TWO ranking congressmen have put forth possible solutions to current OFWs woes requiring urgent action.

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Member Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, urged the Senate, DFA, and DOLE over the weekend to apply diplomatic suasion with Kuwait to convince them that it is in their interest to sign and ratify four specific international conventions protecting migrant workers.

Herrera-Dy added that she joins Senator Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development in asking Kuwait to replace its kafala system will fair labor laws that do not exclude household service workers.

The chairperson of the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality said Kuwait can draw inspiration and guidance from the examples of Qatar and Bahrain which have abolished the kafala (sponsorship) system.

“It would be advantageous for Kuwait to unite with the international community and make their labor laws conform with international conventions on the welfare of migrant workers,” the House assistant majority leader said.

Herrera-Dy was referring to the 1975 Convention concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotions of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers; the ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers’ protection; and the 2003 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Meanwhile, 1-Ang Edukasyon Party-List Rep. Salvador Belaro, Jr. said he agrees with DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello on the need to rethink the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) program of the POEA.

Belaro, a House assistant majority leader, said the POEA, CHED, and SUCs ought to team up to implement a much better replacement or version of the PDOS.

Belaro said the SUCs would be the wise option to deliver the PDOS because of their presence in all provinces of the country.

“The SUCs have the needed expertise to implement PDOS and at reasonable, much lower cost than the private firms that give PDOS seminars,” Belaro said.

p: wjg