Working in a foreign country especially as an OFW can be risky. A good number of the Filipinos scattered across the globe are doing just fine. Nevertheless, many more encounter serious problems abroad that need a lot of looking into. Some might be undergoing abuse from employers or co-workers. It is important to note that not all the sad stories find their way to the TV, newspapers or online news websites. The Philippines embassies do a good work of taking care of their people across the world. OFW are among the beneficiaries.
Other forms of abuse
Abuse is quite a relative term. It can be mean anything from undergoing rude treatment from embassy or government officials to recruiter exploitation. Other cases involve high charges on illegal fees, the untimely termination of contracts, human trafficking among several other harassment cases. This mainly focuses on OWFs who have undergone sexual assault or are who have undergone physical attack.
Authorized bodies to file a report when abused
It is strongly recommended that you report the case to the authorities. The government officials will assist any OFW who reports to the Overseas Welfare Administration. Other bodies where one can file formal complaints are the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Alternatively, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) is open for the reporting of such cases. This extends a certain level of assistance to such cases. Most of the OFWs who undergo abuse and decide to return home can follow up the case with the National Reintegration Center on OFWs. The center provides job referrals, counseling services, medical care and temporary shelters to those who are distressed. At the beginning, the agencies promise to work closely with each complaint, whether the OFW was hired directly or through an agency.
What happens if you do not report?
If you do not pursue the issue legally, it will only bring you more trouble. In some case scenarios, the failure to report maltreatment have resulted in lethal consequences on the affected individuals. The reason why reporting is mandated is to guarantee the security and safety of the individuals concerned. Protection from abusive employment is a basic right that is protected by the Philippine constitution. Legal rights offered to workers overseas must be upheld even when the workers mentioned are stranded outside the country.
New approach to safety for OFW
The Philippine labor secretary announced the suspension of Overseas Employment Certification Applications due to reports of illegal recruiting in November 2017. This will be a 15-day suspension. The announcement clearly states that all new applications will undergo new screening and vetting at the Department of Labor and Employment from early December.