Embassy reaffirms role to assist OFWs in Singapore

MANILAThe Philippine Embassy in Singapore on Tuesday reaffirmed its role to protect the rights and welfare of all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the neighboring Southeast Asian country and reminded them to call the embassy whenever they need assistance.

"As I said, we, the Philippine embassy is open, our doors are open to any suggestion or feedback that our kababayans may have and that we have a very dedicated staff here or people dedicated in the assistance to National Section as well as in our Philippine Overseas Labor Office, POLO," Ambassador to Singapore Joseph Del Mar Yap said in an interview with Radio-TV MalacaAang.

He continued: "So we stand ready to carry out the mandate of the government as well as the instruction of the president and we take the utmost care, the best care of our OFWs here."

There are about 180,000 Filipinos working and living in Singapore. Of that number, about 60 percent are considered professionals or skilled workers, while 40 percent are domestic workers or household service workers, Yap said.

"Already, you can see the Singapore society looks on the Filipinos as contributors to their national development, that we, at 180,000, we are roughly maybe 4 percent of their population," Yap said.

Yap said Filipinos have a significant impact on Singapore's economic development.

"They (Filipinos) perform a lot of functions that are very much needed in Singapore. And then the skilled workers, they work in hotels, in restaurants, so they also provide very important functions. And even our domestic workers I think, both of them are recognized as muchat a much better level worker than other nationalities," he said.

The envoy said the Singapore government recognizes the contribution of OFWs, and that laws are in place to protect rights and promote the welfare of foreign workers.

"If they are being mistreated, if they are not being fed properly, they are not given their day off, they can complain and the police or the manpower department will come and investigate and of course, the embassy itself is always ready to assist them and we always support them when they have these types of complaints," he said.

"I think, occasionally, you cannot totally avoid that there will be some crazy person but I would say, in Singapore, we have much, much fewer cases like that," Yap pointed out.

In such cases, Yap said OFWs can report the abuses to the Singapore police and the Singapore police will take action.

"There have been already several cases where the employers were actually arrested, tried and when they are convicted, they are put in prison for abuse of the domestic workers, not necessarily Filipinos alone but other nationalities. If they are caught abusing, they will be put in jail," he noted.

Source: Philippine News Agency