Senator Risa Hontiveros expressed grave concern over the welfare and treatment of Filipino immigrants affected by raids and detention under the Malaysian authorities’ “Ops Mega 3.0” or the crackdown against undocumented migrant workers.
“We should never dehumanize workers. Because I am sure that if the law permitted more flexible means of entering work legally, they wouldn’t have to resort to undocumented living as a means of protecting themselves,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to media reports, the Malaysian Immigration Department disclosed that among its 595 operations from July 1 to 6, about 1,475 workers and 28 employers have already been arrested.
Hontiveros explained that undocumented work roots from “exploitation and systems that are naturally disadvantageous to the vulnerable sectors of society,” such as trafficking in persons and recruitment from fake agencies profiting off of employment debt.
The Akbayan senator also slammed Malaysia’s previous hiring policy, which requires an employer’s consent before transferring jobs, for resulting to employer abuse, intimidation and exploitation, and undocumented work to escape harmful situations.
“We have to remember that many undocumented workers do not wish to be in the situation they’re in, and that the real, systemic causes of the problem should be addressed if authorities want to really put a stop to the influx of undocumented work,” she noted.
She calls on the government “to ensure that procedures take into account human rights principles and proper observance of ILO [International Labor Organisation] conventions.”
“It is important that as the law is observed, its implementation must be tempered to avoid abuse,” she said. Carol Balita/INQUIRER.net intern /jpv
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