CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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Philippine bishops call for worker boycott of abusive states

Manila (UCAN): The Catholic bishops of the Philippines want a total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to countries that do not have laws to protect migrants.
 
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, chairperson of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said on March 26 that it is high time the government said no to countries where workers are abused and that a total ban is a preventive measure against human rights violations and loss of lives.
 
“Our migrant workers are not their properties,” the bishop said, adding, “They should not be treated as tools for profit, nor as slave workers.” 
 
He said stopping the flow of workers to these countries would send a strong message that the Philippines cares for its workers.
 
Bishop Santos issued the statement in support of a resolution in the Philippine Senate banning the sending of migrant workers to countries that do not offer good working conditions.
 
Philippine Foreign Affairs officials are travelling to Kuwait as part of efforts between the two countries to improve the welfare of migrant workers in the Gulf state.
 
Manila has banned the deployment of new workers to Kuwait following reports of maltreatment and the deaths of Filipino workers there at the hands of their employers (Sunday Examiner, January 26 and February 25).
 
On March 16,  the Philippines and Kuwait agreed on a draft memorandum of understanding, however, Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, put it on hold to add more provisions (Sunday Examiner, April 1).
 
According to the Philippine Labour Department, there are about 250,000 documented Filipino workers in various parts of the world, 10,000 of them in Kuwait alone.

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