Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Mina Gabor said during a consultation with representatives of migrant related NGOs last August that OFWs should be referred to as overseas Filipino specialists which she thought was a better term to refer to our migrant workers.

This would mean migrants as specialists in various fields.

This suggestion did not sit well with the NGOs. In particular, Ellene Sana, Executive Secretary of the Center for Migrant Advocacy was uneasy with the term especially because migrants also take on jobs shunned by the locals/ nationals because they're dirty and dangerous and pay less and invisible etc. etc.

From Hong Kong, Edna Aquino who founded the Center for Filipinos in London, commented that “her proposed terminology confirms what I said above about people in the tourism industry being the principal purveyors of the notion that only Pinoys in lucrative posts are deserving of recognition because they contribute to the so -called "positive " image of the country abroad.”

“I attribute this to ignorance more than anything else. The best response , based on my experience, is to challenge her to define what she meant by "specialist" or "experts" . And, in turn, we define the tasks of a typical domestic worker and ask her if these would not qualify a domestic worker to be considered a specialist in her/his own field,” Edna added.

Riyadh-based Filipino community leader Rashid Fabricante, who takes under his wing runaway domestics in the kingdom, said in Tagalog “send Ms. Gabor to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – she will get it straight from the horses mouth what is wrong with our government policies on the deployment of domestic helpers.”

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