Philippine bishops want ban on workers to abusive states

Prelate commission demands migrants only allowed to go to countries with laws in place to protect overseas workers
Philippine bishops want ban on workers to abusive states

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes migrant workers arriving home from Kuwait in February. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Office) reporter, Manila
March 27, 2018
Philippine Catholic bishops want a total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to countries that do not have laws to protect migrants.

The Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the country's bishops said on March 26 that it is "high time" the government said no to countries where workers are abused.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, chairman of the commission, said a total ban is a preventive measure against human rights violations and loss of lives.

"Our migrant workers are not their properties," said the prelate. "They should not be treated as tools for profit, nor as slave workers," he said.

He said stopping workers to these countries would send a strong message that the Philippines cares for its workers.

Bishop Santos issued the statement in support of a resolution in the Philippine Senate for a ban on the sending workers to countries that do not offer good working conditions to migrants.

Philippine Foreign Affairs officials are set to travel to Kuwait later this month as part of efforts between the two countries to improve the welfare of migrant workers in the Gulf state.

Manila has banned the deployment of new workers to Kuwait following reports of maltreatment and the deaths of Filipino workers there at the hands of their employers.

According to the Philippine Labor Department, there are about 250,000 documented Filipino workers in various parts of the world, 10,000 of them in Kuwait alone.

The Philippines and Kuwait approved last week a draft memorandum of understanding, but Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte put it on hold to add more provisions.

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