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Filipino MPs demand inquiry in Canada on 'modern-day slaves' [PH]

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Asian Pacific Post
Publication Date: 
7 Apr 2005

See text below.


Six MPs from the Philippines House of Representatives are seeking an inquiry into alleged abuses committed against Filipina caregivers in Canada.

They have filed a filed House Resolution 643 to investigate alleged violations committed by Canadian employers against Filipinas whom they allegedly treat like "modern-day slaves."

The six are Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño, Joel zVirador, Crispin Beltran, Rafael Mariano and Liza Maza.

Beltran said the Canadian government reportedly did not enforce or monitor standards of working conditions in the employers' home. "Filipino caregivers are reportedly isolated in the homes under abusive conditions and their contribution in terms of social and economic benefits has not been recognized," he said in a statement.

Filipino caregivers are either overworked or underpaid, Beltran said.

Beltran said he was familiar with one case wherein a caregiver worked 17 hours daily but received less than two cents per hour with no overtime and holiday pay.

The caregiver was also asked to do additional work in her employer's video store, clean the house of her employer's mother, slept in the family's library and discouraged from leaving her employer's house.

There are several non-government organizations of Filipino immigrants in Canada to help protect the welfare of overseas workers like caregivers such as the Kalayaan Centre and Siklab.

Siklab along with other Filipino organizations under the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) have been campaigning for the scrapping of the live-in caregiver program and other temporary worker programs.

These groups have been urging the Canadian government to remove the program's mandatory live-in requirement. They are also pressing to allow workers to enter as permanent residents to prevent abuse and exploitation.

More than 90,000 Filipino women have been deployed to Canada under the Live-in Caregiver Program, which started in 1992.

- reprinted from the Asian Pacific Post