Hontiveros wants crackdown on misleading job offers for OFWs in Taiwan
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros has called on government agencies to go after misleading job offers for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan.
This was after several Filipinos in Taiwan complained of harsh working conditions and jobs far from what they had applied for or offered to them.
Hontiveros, in a statement on Friday, said that some OFWs in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, told her that there were inconsistencies in the job description that recruitment agencies offered in the Philippines compared to the actual work that they are doing.
Among the inconsistencies experienced by some OFWs in Taiwan involve wages and salaries, working hours, amount of work, and other benefits.
“Ayon mismo sa ating mga kababayan, hindi nagtutugma ang mga detalye ng dalawa nilang pinipirmahan para makapagtrabaho sa Taiwan. Misleading ang mga nakasaad. Yung job description, day off, rest day, oras ng trabaho, at maging ang sweldo, hindi pareho,” the senator said.
(Our fellow Filipinos said the details of the job contracts they signed to work in Taiwan do not match. What was stated is misleading — the job description, day off, rest day, working hours, and even the salaries are not the same.)
“Kaya pagdating nila doon, nalilito sila. Yung iba, nagtitiis hanggang makahanap ng bagong malilipatang employer. Ang malala, may ibang naaabuso at napipilitang magpa-‘shelter’ o magpakupkop muna sa mga kababayan natin sa Taiwan,” she added.
(That’s why when they arrive in Taiwan, they are confused. Some endure the abuses until they find a new employer. What’s worse is that some are abused and are forced to take shelter with fellow Filipinos in Taiwan.)
Hontiveros said there are measures to protect OFWs from this modus operandi, but she believes some recruiters may have found loopholes — as some trained caregivers in Manila ended up as farmers in mountain areas.
“Gigising sila ng alas-kwatro ng umaga para umakyat sa bundok kung nasaan ang farm ng ngángá. Pagdating doon buong araw ang trabaho, lampas sa nakatakda sa kontrata nila. May isa tayong OFW, mag-isa lang syang manggagawa sa farm ng employer niya. Siya ang gumagawa ng lahat,” Hontiveros said.
(They would wake up at four in the morning to go up the mountains where the betel nuts farm is. Upon arrival, they work almost the whole day beyond their contracts. One of our OFWs works alone on the farm of their employer. He does the work alone.)
“Mayroon ding mga kaso na hindi pinagda-day off ng employer, bawal din daw mag-rest day. Marami din ang hindi sumusweldo ng tama. Napakahirap ng pinagdaanan nila,” she added.
(Some are not allowed by their employers to take days off and rest days. Some do not get their salaries on time. They are having a hard time here.)
While most OFWs do not experience such incidents, Hontiveros said that the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) must act as some workers were abused.
Hontiveros, who is in Taipei for a series of meetings, said that OFWs attended the dialogue in Taipei from other areas like Taichung, Taoyuan, Tainan, Hsinchu, and Kaohsiung.
“Nakikipagsapalaran ang mga OFWs para sa mas magandang buhay. Yun pala, lalo lang nadadagdagan ang problema nila. Dapat maimbestigahan kung bakit pumipirma ang mga kababayan natin ng kontratang hindi katulad ng kontratang hawak ng boss nila,” she added.
(They are taking their chances here for a better life. But it seems they would only have additional problems. They should investigate why they were allowed to sign contracts different from the ones held by their bosses.)
Taiwan is one of the top destinations for OFWs due to the many job opportunities in the country, and its proximity to the Philippines — a less than two-hour flight from Manila. According to datasets released by the Philippine Statistics Authority last December 2022, 3.4 percent of all 1.83 million OFWs are deployed in Taiwan as of 2021.
This means there are more OFWs in Taiwan than in the entire continent of Africa, as only 1.3 percent of Filipino workers worked in countries in the said area.
Hontiveros promised OFWs she would try to air this concern with the government offices.
“Sa ating mga OFWs sa Taiwan, pangako po, ipaparating natin sa kinauukulan ang inyong mga hinaing, at sisiguraduhin nating may aksyon. Hindi tayo magsasawang ipaglaban ang karapatan ng ating mga kababayang nakikipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa,” she said.
(To our OFWs in Taiwan, I promise we will bring your concerns to the officials and ensure that this will be acted upon. We would not grow tired of fighting for the rights of our fellow Filipinos working abroad.)
“Sagrado ang ating mga karapatan bilang mga manggagawa at pantao. Mula recruitment, hanggang makapag-trabaho na kayo, hanggang sa inyong pag-uwi, itataguyod natin ang kapakanan ng Pilipinong manggagawa,” she added.
(Workers’ rights and human rights are sacred. From the recruitment up to the job proper and until you return home, we would uphold the welfare of Filipino workers.)