A Filipino lawmaker is calling on the Philippine government to sign agreements with countries to ensure the protection of Filipino migrant workers. Photo: iStock

A Filipino lawmaker has called on the Philippine government to forge deals with Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia to protect Filipino migrant workers.

Jesulito Manalo, a member of the House of Representatives, said the bilateral agreements would ensure the rights and welfare of Filipino workers were promoted and safeguarded in these countries, the Manila Bulletin reported.

“We will first target the country that gives the highest protection and employment opportunities. We are looking at Europe, America, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea and maybe China. But we have to produce quality workers,” Manalo said.

Manalo urged the government to review the policies and laws of countries hosting Filipino migrant workers, citing the Middle East’s “kafala” or sponsorship system in which a worker can be moved from one employer to another.

“We don’t want to hear news of our Filipina workers being raped and abused. We don’t want the Philippines to be known as a source for domestic workers. Filipino women should have dignity,” he said.

The lawmaker said the government should ensure the country’s workforce was the best and the brightest and should maintain the quality, education and training and competency of Filipinos.

“We have to take care of them, make them proud as Filipinos so that they can really serve the country well,” he said.

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