Tuesday, May 23, 2017

OFWs call for PHL-Russia pact that will benefit them

With President Rodrigo Duterte currently in Russia for an official visit, Filipinos there are hoping he could address some of the issues hounding them, among them job security.
"Sana ay magkaroon ng tamang ‘mutual agreement’ ang Pilipinas at Russia pagdating sa mga OFWs dito katulad sa ibang bansa na kung saan may seguridad ang mga workers," Jeipee Gail Lacaden, 33, housekeeper in Vladivostok, told GMA News Online via email.
"Ilan sa amin dito ay hindi secure. Or let me say na hindi talaga kami secure."
Foreign workers, including Filipinos, are required to register in Russia. Lacaden said this has become a source of corruption among some Russian officials.
"Corruption in this city is very high. Kahit kumpleto ka sa papeles, kapag nasita ka, hahanapan ka ng mali at hihingan ng pera. Pinakamababang singil sa amin kapag nasita ng pulis 2k rubles (P1,639)," she said.
Forty-year-old nanny Shane Almuete has the same concern.
"Sa Moscow lahat nanggagaling ang registration namin pero ‘pag nasisita kami ng mga pulis, hinahanapan kami ng Vladivostok registration. Nagpunta naman ako sa embahada dito sa Vladivostok last October eh hindi naman pala kami mabibigyan ng registration. Hindi kasi nakakaintindi ng English yung FMS (Federal Migration Service) kaya hindi kami inaasikaso," she said.
Almuete also called out for an "upgrade" on the country’s consulate in Vladivostok.
"Gusto ko rin sana na ipa-upgrade ang Philippine Consulate dito sa Vladivostok para dito na lang sana kami mag-renew ng passport saka working visa. Kasi kung pupunta pa kami ng Moscow para magpa-renew eh malaking abala sa amin. Bukod sa malayo—nine hours, hindi pa namin alam kung saan kami mag-stay sa Moscow. Tapos, mahal pati pamasahe. Mahal pati working visa," she said.
Marita Ferrer Navarro, 45, also nanny in Vladivostok, echoed Almuete.
"Mas mahal pa kasi kaysa sa passport ang pamasahe papuntang Moscow. Iyong visa namin, walang fix kung magkano ang bayad; ang mga agency iba-iba ang singil," she said.
Lacaden, who worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong for eight years before moving to Russia, could not help but agree.
"Lalo na ngayong one year na lang ang makukuha naming working visa.  Pabigat talaga sa amin yan lalo na sa mga kapwa kong OFWs na sumasahod below minimum in rubles. Maswuerte na lang kung generous ang amo at siya ang mag-shoulder lahat ng gastos," she said. —KBK, GMA News

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