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Data bank on migrant workers proposed in Bangsamoro

COTABATO CITY — A member of the parliament in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has filed a resolution asking the BARMM Ministry of Labor to establish a data bank on all Bangsamoro migrant workers abroad.

Member of Parliament Bai Maleiha Candao of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) expressed alarm over cases of migrant workers suffering in the hands of their employers, the most recent being the murder in Kuwait of Filipino worker Jeanelyn Villavende of Norala, South Cotabato.

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Many migrant workers from the Bangsamoro region have been suffering from abuses and other circumstances such as human trafficking, illegal recruitment, maltreatment, and nonpayment of wages, Candao said.

HelplessShe added that the regional government appeared to be helpless in extending aid to distressed workers due to lack of basic information and data about them. Thus, the need for a migrant workers’ data bank.

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“In the Bangsamoro region, we have to do something for OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) from [the] BARMM whom we call modern day heroes because of their help in the country’s economy through their remittances,” she said.

“I cannot just close my eyes and do nothing, knowing pretty well that as legislator, I can do something, no matter how small it may be,” Candao said.

The lawmaker said a well-organized repository of information of OFWs from the region would help improve coordination efforts between the BARMM and concerned national and regional offices, nongovernmental organizations and others in the private sector to protect the interest of OFWs.

BTA Resolution No. 173, which Candao authored, aims to gather information for monitoring and tracking workplaces of Bangsamoro migrant workers so that the BARMM could easily extend a helping hand when they might be distressed, she said.

Candao said this would be called the Bangsamoro Overseas Workers Information System.

Members of Parliament Aida Silongan and Ubaida Pacasem coauthored Candao’s proposed resolution.

“It is imperative that an effective mechanism be instituted to ensure that the rights and interest of Bangsamoro migrant workers are adequately protected and safeguarded,” Candao said.

She cited 2018 data from the Department of Labor and Employment that there were already 48,300 OFWs from the BARMM, making up 2.1 percent of the country’s total OFWs. INQ

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TAGS: Bangsamoro, BARMM, BTA, data bank, Local news, Migrant workers, Mindanao, News, OFWs, Philippine news updates, regional news, Regions
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