Enhance protection of OFWs, bishop urges gov’t

Enhance protection of OFWs, bishop urges gov’t

OFWs in Hong Kong. FILE PHOTO

February 18, 2018

MANILA, PHILIPPINES

The Catholic Church offered prayers for overseas Filipino workers on National Migrants’ Sunday, reiterating its call for better treatment and protection of OFWs in their host countries.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP’s Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said the government must boost the welfare of OFWs especially domestic workers under vulnerable conditions.

“Our migrant workers should be safe. They should not be threatened or exploited. Their rights must be protected and their dignity respected,” Santos said.

“A migrant is a person. He has feelings, emotions, and a history. He is created by God, gifted by God with specific talents and individual skills. Thus, he is not a tool for profits nor an instrument for pleasure,” he said.

The prelate’s appeal comes on the heels of a deployment ban imposed by the Philippine government to Kuwait due to the many cases of abuses against OFWs.

There is currently an estimated 10 million Filipino workers in different countries, most of them are in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Kuwait, and Qatar.

These OFWs have contributed to the economic growth of the country through their foreign remittances that saved the Philippines from financial crisis in previous years.

The Church is also hopeful that host countries will welcome Filipinos into their communities, and step up efforts to combat intolerance and discrimination against migrants.

“When migrants go to another community, it is not only for labor but also to share their knowledge, skills, and expertise,” Santos added.

“Let them live fully and fruitfully with one another. There should be no attempts to eradicate their ethnicity. This calls for their adoption by or absorption into the community. It is communion with all, in contrast to exclusivity or isolationism,” he also said.

The Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines declared in 1987 every first Sunday of Lent the “National Migrants Sunday” to honor the sacrifices and heroism of OFWs and their families. CBCPNews