Press Release
June 21, 2011


Chicago, Illinois - Senator Edgardo J. Angara renewed calls for the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers, following recent reports that a 24-year-old Filipina was physically abused by her Kuwaiti employer. The woman called "Cristy", not her real name, said she endured weeks of beatings and starvation because she needed to provide for her children here in the Philippines.

"The top priorities of our OFW's are food, shelter and quality education for their children--in that order. Hence, there has to be a stronger and more aggressive promotion and protection of not just their interests, but also their dependents'," said Angara, who is on an official mission to the United States as part of the Department of Tourism road show.

He added, "It is not enough to effectively rescue OFW's when they encounter grave hardship while working abroad. We should be actively involved in creating a safe work environment for them."

Angara, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said it was the least that the country could do to demonstrate appreciation for OFW's invaluable contribution to the economy. The Philippines continues to have one of the highest foreign remittance inflows. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), OFW remittances were up by 6 percent to $6.2 billion during the first four months of 2011.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) also indicate a rise in demand for Filipino manpower. Angara warned that growing deployment abroad should be met with increased security for Filipino workers, as well as the creation of more opportunities for them in the country.

"We should also encourage them to invest at home by providing them enough opportunities to infuse money into their home communities," said Angara. "This will not only improve local trade and drive the national economy, but also distribute wealth evenly among rural areas through the businesses created with OFW investment."

The Philippine Embassy is currently providing legal assistance to Cristy. She is staying at the Filipino Workers Resource Center.

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