Crooked recruitment and deployment processes turn OFWs into indentured servants

The Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) phenomenon was a “bandaid solution” for the chronic unemployment in the country. It has now become the permanent solution to unemployment. OFW remittances float the Philippine economy. It is an addiction, and we are all addicted to it. It goes the same, as cosumerism. We go to work, as OFWs, so as to afford costly consumer goods. It is the “pasikatan mentality” , that is prevalent to Filipinos.

Most of our OFWs are household servants in oil-rich Arab countries. The Indentured Servants in the 16th and 17th centuries, that came to North America, had better deals than our OFW household servants.

Seeking employment as Indentured Servants was a way for poor Europeans, to immigrate to American colonies. They sign an indenture for themselves, usually five (5) years; in return for a costly passage to North America. After the indenture, the immigrant was free to work for themselves, or for other employers. The Master of the indentured servant provides: housing, food and other basic necessities. They can be maltreated, also by their masters. Some were even murdered. But , none were ever put in freezers. It is a form of slavery. It is now outlawed by most countries.

Our farm workers, who were mostly Ilocanos, went in the same way as indentured servants to Hawaii when big corporations needed many farm workers for their pineapple and sugar plantations. They travelled on ships, from the Port of Curimao, Ilocos Norte, going to Hawaii, to work on those plantations during the Commonwealth era.

Going back to our OFW household slave/servants in Kuwait. I believe they have not signed agreements with their employers. They don’t have any protection from their employers before they took the jobs. They cannot get out of their contracts/employments; if they are maltreated, or they are paid with starvation wages, or if they are fed crumbs and sleep in a non-habitable place in their master’s house. They remain there, until the DFA people rescued them.

So, the problem here is: the recruitment process. There must be a contract , understood by all, and applicable to Kuwaiti laws…There must be a way out of the contract if any of the parties don’t follow what is in the employment contract. Most of us are not familiar with the Kuwaiti Laws; if they are applicable to foreign workers or not.

So, there we go with our : “pwede na yan” mentality. It came back to bite us in the rear. It is painful, but we are all stupid.

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