Senate bets Gutoc, Matula want OFW deployment ban to abusive countries

Camille Elemia
'I also want deployment bans for countries that do not respect human rights especially for women,' says senatorial bet Samira Gutoc

WOMAN ADVOCATE. Samira Gutoc, lone woman candidate of Otso Diretso. Rappler photo

MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial candidates Samira Gutoc and Sonny Matula on Monday, March 4, called for government ban on countries that abuse overseas Filipino workers.

During Rappler’s #TheLeaderIWant Forum, Gutoc and Matula were asked what Congress could do to compel receiving countries to take equal responsibility for OFWs and families.

“I also want deployment bans for countries that do not respect human rights especially for women. We should be assertive, and assert towards countries that if you do not respect and even take hold of our passport, [provide] intolerable conditions, there should be a ban…. para sila matuto na ‘wag tayo binabasta basta (so they learn not to take us easily),” Gutoc said.

Labor leader Matula shared Gutoc’s view and called on the government to choose the countries to send migrant workers.

“Tama si Senator Gutoc sa kanyang sagot, sangayon ako doon. Pangalawa, kinakailangan siguro ang gobyerno na aktibo i-ban yung mga bansa na palaging inaabuso yung ating mga migrant workers,” Matula said. (Senator Gutoc is right, I agree with her. Second, the government needs to be active in banning OFW deployment to countries abusing migrant workers.)

“Ninety percent ng mga reklamo ng migrant workers ay sa Middle East, tignan mabuti ‘yan kasi ‘yung domestic workers natin ay dahil palaging biktima. Siguro piliin na natin d’yan yung bansa na ibaban ang domestic workers,” he added. (Ninety percent of migrant workers who are abused come from the Middle East. Let’s look closely because our domestic workers are always the victims.)

He also called for the government’s adherence to International Labor Organization Convention 189, which the Philippines ratified in 2012.

“Pangatlo, dapat maging aktibo tayo dun sa ILO Convention 189 na niratify natin, ‘yung may probisyon na pumoprotekta ng ating mga kababayan laban sa pang-aabuso,” he said. (Third, we should be active in the implementation of ILOC Convention 189, which we ratified. There are provisions there that protect our fellowmen against abuse.)

Convention 189 considers paid household service as a form of work. Societies and governments in the Southeast Asian region, however, have not been completely able to provide adequate protection and recognition for domestic workers.

Household workers struggle because they are not covered by the labor laws of the countries they work, keeping them from being protected from unjust work schedule and entitlement to minimum wage. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email