Thursday Aug, 13 2020 12:43:20 PM

BARMM solon wants data banking for Bangsamoro migrant workers

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 12:15 PM Sun Jan 26, 2020
Edwin O. Fernandez
Bangsamoro region interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim attends one of the BTA sessions. (Photo from Bangsamoro govt page)

COTABATO CITY  – A member of parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has focused her eyes on the welfare of migrant workers, especially those coming from the Bangsamoro region.

Member of Parliament (MP) Bai Maleiha B. Candao of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) has filed a resolution asking the BARMM Ministry of Labor to establish a data banking system of all Bangsamoro migrant workers and adopt a well-organized repository of information.

In a statement, MP Candao has expressed alarm over cases of migrant workers suffering in the hands of their employers overseas. 

The latest of which is a female Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), Jeanelyn Villavende of Norala, South Cotabato who was allegedly killed by her Kuwaiti employer.

She said many migrant workers from the Bangsamoro region have been suffering from abuses and unfortunate incidents abroad that include human trafficking, illegal recruitment, maltreatment, non-payment of salaries and wages, among others.

Candao said the regional government in the past appeared to be helpless in extending aid to the distress workers due to lack of basic information and data about them.

“In the Bangsamoro region, we have to do something for OFWs from BARMM who we call as modern day heroes because of their help in the country’s economy through remittances,” she said.

“I cannot just close my eyes and do nothing knowing pretty well that, as legislator, I can do something no matter how small it may be,” MP Candao said.

The lady solon said a well-organized repository of information will serve as a “coordinating mechanism” between BARMM with the concerned national and regional offices, non-government and private sectors for the effective gathering of significant information.

Candao said her BTA Resolution No. 173 primarily aims to gather information for monitoring and tracking work places of Bangsamoro Overseas Migrant Workers “so that BARMM can easily extend a helping hand when they are distressed.”

She said it will be called “Bangsamoro Overseas Workers Information System (BOWIS).”

Members of Parliament Aida Silongan and Atty. Ubaida C. Pacasem co-authored Candao’s proposed resolution.

“It is imperative than an effective mechanism be instituted to ensure that the rights and interest of Bangsamoro migrant workers are adequately protected and safeguarded,” Candao said.

She cited a 2018 data from labor department that there were about 48,300 OFWs from BARMM or 2.1 percent of the country’s total OFWs.

The BOWIS, she said, shall contain personal and family information, contact numbers, social media accounts, skills, places and country of work, recruitment agency, among others statistics so the regional government can extend help as quick as possible when the situation calls for it.

The master list will also serve as basis for MOLE-BARMM in providing policies and intervention for the protection and advancement of Bangsamoro migrant workers.

“It will also serve as a tracking tool in monitoring their safety as well as their general welfare,” she said. (Edwin O. Fernandez)

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