Press Release
May 12, 2023

HONTIVEROS TO DMW, OWWA: CRACKDOWN ON MISLEADING OFW CONTRACTS IN TAIWAN

TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- Senator Risa Hontiveros is calling on the country's labor officials to rescind misleading contracts signed by Overseas Filipino Workers bound for Taiwan.

In a dialogue with OFWs in Taipei, the employees revealed that there are many inconsistencies between the contracts they signed with their recruiters in Manila, compared with the Affidavits for Wage / Salary and Expenses, which are the contracts they signed with their employers in Taiwan.

Though many do not encounter this problem, Hontiveros said those who do had to endure abuse and exploitation by their employers. The dialogue was attended by OFWs from various parts of Taiwan, such as Taipei, Taichung, Taoyuan, Tainan, Hsinchu, Kaohsiung, and others.

"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. 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 said.

To be a foreign worker in Taiwan, an OFW must sign an Affidavit for Wage/Salary and Expenses which is also signed by labor brokers and the employer. It is meant to protect the OFW against unfavorable conditions.

However, the senator believes unscrupulous recruiters have found a loophole that enables the exploitation of many Filipinos. For instance, many of our migrants who applied and trained in Manila as caregivers ended up being farmers of pinyin or betel nuts (nganga), which the workers say is backbreaking work.

"Gigising sila ng alas-kwatro ng umaga para umakyat sa bundok kung nasaan ang farm ng nganga. 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. Mayroon ding mga kaso na hindi pinagda-day off ng employer, bawal din daw mag-rest day. Marami din ang hindi sumusweldo nang tama. Napakahirap ng pinagdaanan nila," she said.

Due to the stunning revelations, the senator is now calling on the DMW and OWWA to check on possible ambiguities and inadequacies in all contracts signed by aspiring OFWs.

"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 emphasized.

OFWs also disclosed to the senator that some parts of their skills training in Manila are unnecessary for their job description. They add, the fees for these training must be reviewed. They say, they are required to pay as much as P150,000 pesos for training, medical tests, placement fees, and many other burdensome expenses.

"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. 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," the senator concluded.

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