Manila eyes Russia for Filipino domestic helpers
After signing a deal with Beijing for the deployment of English teachers to China, Manila is now looking into Moscow’s labor market regulations and policies in preparation for the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Russia.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said there were ongoing talks between the Philippine and Russian governments and that he created a technical working group (TWG) that would discuss with Russian officials “the agreement for the possible deployment of OFWs.”
“Negotiations with the Russian Federation are ongoing and Russia is one of our alternative markets for our Filipino workers who still wish to be deployed overseas. There is a demand for construction and household service workers in Russia,” Bello said.
The TWG was tasked with establishing a program of activities for a series of policy consultations between the Philippine and Russian governments, and “to meet with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) counterparts in Russia to further discuss policies for the protection and welfare of Filipino workers.”
Also, the technical working group will lead in the orientation of Russian employers and recruitment agencies about Philippine laws governing OFWs.
The TWG is headed by Claro Arellano, DOLE Undersecretary for Legal and International Affairs, while POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia was named as its vice chair. Its members include OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac, and representatives from the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB), and the DOLE Legal Service.
The group will also provide inputs and recommendations on the deployment of workers in Russia and bilateral labor agreement negotiations for consideration of the DOLE BLA Steering Committee.
The POEA earlier warned Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong to be wary of job offers in Russia since there is still no bilateral labor agreement between Moscow and Manila.
Then Labor Attache Jalilo Dela Torre said around 5,000 OFWs, mostly from Hong Kong, were in dire straits in Russia after the jobs offers made to them turned out to be empty promises.
“There was really no job waiting for them there. The agencies that sent them were just recruiting and…so, the OFWs themselves had to look for a job when they got there,” he said.