Saudi bans hiring Pinoy DH; migrant group says PHL faces labor policy dilemma

MANILA, March 27, 2011—Migrante-Middle East on March 27, disclosed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued an order regulating the hiring of Filipinas as household help in the oil rich kingdom.

John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of Migrante-ME, said in his email that it is but a reflection of the Philippines’ poor labor policy.

“It only shows that even in the lucrative business of labor export, here comes the problem of competition and protection of some selfish interests,” Monterona told this reporter.

A note, he said, was publicized in the Kingdom stating that the processing or facilitation of domestic work for aliens is on hold, until further notice.

However, Monterona believed that the ban was due to a requirement being imposed to employers by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.

“One requirement that Philippine Overseas Labor offices in Saudi Arabia asks Saudi employers, is to submit a detailed sketch of their house address before a job order will be approved. This aims pinpoint exactly whose household our OFW-DH (overseas Filipino worker-domestic helper) is working for and that she could easily be traced and rescued in case she has been a victim of abuse and maltreatment,” Monterona added.

Although this is for the OFW’s safety, the Saudi National Recruitment Committee (SANARCOM), an alliance of recruiters and manpower pooling agencies in Saudi, did not welcome this.

“The SANARCOM has sent a letter to the PH embassy and POLO in Riyadh expressing their opposition against this policy and threatened to stop hiring OFW-DH if this will be made as a requirement. They say, such policy violates Saudi employer’s rights to privacy as stated on the host government’s local laws,” he said.

The migrant leader said that they are keeping an eye on what the Philippine government would do if the ban continues.

“I think it’s high time to reevaluate some of the overseas labor policies being implemented and try to create a new one that will ensure that both parties—the sending and the receiving country—would benefit. But, as of this moment, we are urging President [Benigno] Aquino to send a diplomatic team, composed of real experts, in order to iron things out,” he said. (Noel Sales Barcelona,