Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Curtail women OFWs to avoid abuse, says POEA

As a segment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) more prone to abuse and maltreatment, women should be restricted to work as domestic helpers and factory workers abroad, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Wednesday.

On average 70 percent of OFWs are women, according to the Department of Labor and Employment records.

“I wish to see less and less of our women OFWs deployed as household service workers," said newly appointed POEA chief Carlos Cao Jr.

“Although I realize it will need a strong political will to do it, I know I have to advocate for it, since deep in my heart I wish to see that mothers should stay in the country to take care of their brood and not to rock the cradle of different nationalities," Cao said.

There is a need to lessen their deployment, Cao added.

POEA records show that more Filipino women are landing jobs overseas, most of them as domestic workers, and that in 2009 and 2010 women accounted for more than 70 percent of newly hired OFWs.

Also in 2009, six in 10 newly hired OFWs were female domestic workers, entertainers, caregivers, nurses, and health service workers.

In the case of Hong Kong, 90 percent of OFWs are women and mostly domestic workers, according to POEA. In Kuwait, 74 percent of Filipino workers are women domestic helpers, and 53 percent of Filipinos working in Japan are women in the entertainment industry.

Of 240,696 newly hired or first-time OFWs last year, 40 percent were female domestic workers, 30 percent were factory workers, and 30 percent were professional and technical workers. There were 236,118 newly hired OFWs in 2009.

The bulk of female OFWs (24.3 percent) were in the 25-29 age group, with 23.9 percent 45 years old and above.

OFWs deployed in 2010 declined by 3 percent to 1,079,221 from 1,112,840 in 2009, according to POEA.

Cao said he has not yet determined the cause of that 3-percent decline.

Filipino women workers are in 197 countries as domestic helpers, caregivers, entertainers, nurses, clerical and sales workers, and professional and technical employees.

Saudi Arabia remains the biggest market for Filipino workers followed by United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Taiwan, Italy, Bahrain, and Canada. — With Jerrie Abella/VS, GMANews.TV

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