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The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) jointly conducted on March 31, 2015 a forum on women migrant workers, featuring studies from ILS researchers and a technical consultant from United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

The one-day forum spearheaded by the ILS Gender and Development (GAD) Committee provided a platform for policymakers and stakeholders from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Inter-Agency Committee on Research and Statistical Matters and the Overseas Land-based Tripartite Consultative Committee to exchange views on matters concerning Filipino women in overseas work and explore ways to uplift their working conditions.

OIC-Executive Director Mary Grace L. Riguer of the Institute presented her paper titled “Decent Work for HSWs: Examining the Labor Market and Profiling HSWs (household workers) for Occupational Mobility” in which she primarily identified other job options for HSWs.

The ILS chief indicated that based on the results of the profiling of the Technical Education and Skills Authority, only a few HSWs have skills certification or professional qualifications license. Unless such concern is addressed, Riguer concluded that attempts by HSWs to apply for other better-paying jobs, and therefore for more decent work, will significantly be constrained.

Filipino women nurses and careworkers in Japan

In her paper “Drawing Lessons from the Experiences of Filipino Nurses and Careworkers under the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA),” the ILS deputy chief, Atty. Stephanie B. Tabladillo, found that one to two in every 10 Filipino nurses and careworkers in the East Asian country, many of whom are women, passed the required licensure examinations under PJEPA during the period 2009-2013.

The author also pointed out several weaknesses in the labor mobility facilitation scheme: irrelevant on-the-job training, insufficient language training program, and limited contract duration for training.

To address these challenges, Atty. Tabladillo recommended that a relevant on-the-job training be instituted, that a language proficiency prior to deployment to Japan be required, and that the contract duration for training in Japan be extended to five years.

CEDAW-based situation analysis of Filipino WMWs

Dr. Jean Encinas-Franco, a consultant of the UN Women, presented another paper that comprehensively analyzes the situation of Filipino women migrant workers based on the framework of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Dr. Encinas-Franco enumerated in her presentation the different factors influencing Filipino outmigration in recent history: lack of decent work opportunities in the country, of access to resources, and of state support; and strong demand for workers from migrant-receiving countries.

She explained that in developing countries, overseas work usually entails economic gains on individual and national levels. But for many Filipino women taking their chances abroad, she said that such benefits often come at the expense of fragmented family relations, human rights violations, and personal psychosocial costs.

The UN Women consultant called for a review of gendered practices in the Philipine migration governance processes, close monitoring of ethical recruitment for both professional and low-skilled occupations, and a consistent engagement with recruitment agencies as partners in the protection of Filipino women migrant workers through a reward system.

Dr. Encinas-Franco likewise suggested that the capability-building and funding support for migrant organizations be scaled up and that the budgetary and human resource support for DOLE, POEA, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs be increased.

POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac delivered the opening remarks in the forum. – with a report from Kim Pacete/ERD




The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) is the policy research and advocacy arm of the Department of Labor and Employment. For more information on this story, please contact Ronell J. Delerio of the Advocacy and Publications Division of ILS at telephone nos. 5273490/527-3447.