The Philippine parliament has issued a proposal to cease the deployment of Filipino household service workers to countries that impose the sponsorship system, referring to GCC states such as Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries.
The proposal, presented by Senate Minority Leader, Coco Pimentel, was met with deliberation by Senator Ravi Tolvo, the chair of a new Philippine senate committee called “Committee on Migrant Employment”, upon reviewing a report on the alleged abuse cases of household service workers abroad. Based on the report, a video was presented showing Filipino household workers in Kuwait and other neighbouring countries that appeared to be crying and telling viewers that they were harassed, physically and psychologically abused, and that their salaries were being withheld.
“In light of this report, should we decide in the future to ban sending our domestic workers to certain countries, especially those that practice the sponsorship system? Every mistake and every unfortunate incident of abuse costs the life of a Filipino,” said Senator Pimentel during the heated debate in the senate hearing.
Several house representatives backed Pimentel’s proposal, however, Tolvo recommended to first impose a strict policy on violators in Philippine agencies that employ and deploy immigrant workers, stressing that an agency that is found guilty of abusing the system shall be written off and not be reinstated even under an alias. The representatives called for intensified coordination efforts with governments of the sponsoring countries in order to better protect the workers.
Meanwhile, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano urged officials to also monitor the performance of the Philippine diplomatic mission operating in the countries in question.