Senator Risa Hontiveros is calling on the country’s labor officials to rescind misleading contracts signed by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for Taiwan.
In a dialogue, the employees revealed that there are many inconsistencies between the contracts they signed with their recruiters in Manila, compared with the Affidavits for Wage / Salary and Expenses, which are the contracts they signed with their employers in Taiwan.
Though many do not encounter this problem, Hontiveros said those who do had to endure abuse and exploitation by their employers. The dialogue was attended by OFWs from various parts of Taiwan, such as Taipei, Taichung, Taoyuan, Tainan, Hsinchu, Kaohsiung, and others.
To be a foreign worker in Taiwan, an OFW must sign an Affidavit for Wage/Salary and Expenses which is also signed by labor brokers and the employer. It is meant to protect the OFW against unfavorable conditions.
However, the senator believes unscrupulous recruiters have found a loophole that enables the exploitation of many Filipinos. For instance, many migrants who applied and trained in Manila as caregivers ended up being farmers of pinyin or betel nuts (nganga), which the workers say is backbreaking work.
The senator is now calling on the DMW and OWWA to check on possible ambiguities and inadequacies in all contracts signed by aspiring OFWs.
Hontiveros meanwhile said she also met with Taiwan Foreign Minister Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu in Taipei City, Taiwan to reaffirm her commitment to a peaceful resolution in the West Philippine Sea and the entire South China Sea.
“Unlike China, who has been employing tactics that employ force short of war, we can genuinely and diplomatically engage with Taiwan in order to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea,” Hontiveros said.
She described Taiwan as being “a good and responsible friend” to the Philippines.
Hontiveros said the Thursday discussion is meant to contribute to the legislative roadmap she will craft to have clear policies that can allow the Philippines to protect, defend, and maintain sovereignty over territories in the WPS.
The officials also agreed that international relations among various democratic nations must be strengthened in order to resist China’s aggressive actions.
“While the Philippines does not yet have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, constant cooperation is needed as both countries confront similar challenges, from cybersecurity to climate change. It is also in the interest of our country to deepen people-to-people exchanges
with Taiwan, whether through tourism or overseas employment,”
Hontiveros said. Macon Ramos-Araneta