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PIA Press Release
2006/10/22

Recruiters oppose raising wages of ‘supermaids’

Quezon City (22 October) -- “SUPERMAIDS” yes, "super salaries" no.

Recruiters are up in arms against the government's plan to raise wages of Filipino domestics being deployed overseas to 400 dollars, saying this would only encourage illegal recruitment and kill off the legitimate recruitment business in the country.

The POEA resolution on the raising of the wage rate has already been approved by the agency's governing board and only awaits the signature of Labor Secretary Arturo Brion.

The agency has been conducting dialogues with recruiters on how to implement the resolution but has been met with stiff opposition.

Aside from raising the wages, the POEA also wants to increase the minimum age for domestics to be deployed abroad from 21 to 25 years and impose a "no-deduction policy" with respect to their wages, meaning no placement fee would be imposed on domestic helpers leaving the country.

Nonetheless, the recruiters said that they fully support the government's "Supermaid" program, which seeks to train domestic helpers and invest them with more and better housekeeping skills to improve their chances of employment.

They said they also do not oppose the higher salary provided that the Philippine government negotiates agreements with the host countries to honor the proposed 400-dollar salary and ensure implementation of work contracts.

However, Geslani said, no Middle East country would likely accept the new wage hike and would simply get domestic helpers from countries like Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Also, he said, unscrupulous foreign employers might just resort to illegal means of luring Filipino domestic helpers willing to earn less than 400 dollars a month.

This could be done either by directly hiring Filipinos already abroad or by spiriting out recruits from the Philippines -- disguising them as "tourists" -- with the aid of "escort syndicates" in the airports, he added.

"The entire recruitment industry is still keeping the lines of communication with the government and is still pleading for the non-implementation of this unreasonable wage hike," Geslani said. (PIA) [top]

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