Arroyo pushes for protection of OFWs in Russia

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has pushed for a labor agreement between the Philippine and Russian governments for the better protection of Filipino workers in the federative state.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Arroyo, a former President, noted that a big majority of the estimated 10,000 Filipinos working in Russia are undocumented which makes them prone to arrest and detention.

“The vast majority of Filipino workers in Russia are household workers and nannies but except for around 200, all of them - from 5,000 to 10,000 - are undocumented. They pay as much as US$3,800 for improper or manufactured visas,” said Arroyo.

She pointed out:  “(T)hey are always on the radar of the police, under constant threat of arrest and deportation. Crimes against them go unreported for fear of deportation. They fall victim to illegal recruiters and human traffickers.”

Arroyo said a labor agreement between the two counties will both serve the interests of the two nations.

“What is the solution to maximize the potential of our Filipino workers to contribute to Russian development and investment attractiveness? The solution is a labor agreement between our two countries. I understand we have vast experience in this area and have found that the interests of both sending and receiving states are served by the agreement. I understand we have had several discussions on this, and that in May last year the Philippines formally submitted a draft labor agreement to Russia,” said Arroyo.

She added: “(A) labor agreement one that allows Fiiipinos to legally stay and work in Russia, to make meaningful contributions to Russian families and society, to bring our people closer, to foster greater understanding, will greatly benefit both countries and reinforce the historic step our leaders have taken.”

Arroyo was invited to speak at the SPIEF which is one of the leading global platforms for members of the business community to meet and discuss the key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world as a whole.

It has been held since 1997, and since 2006, it has been held under the auspices of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

This year, the event was held from June 6 to 8. Also in attendance were other world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping.