DFA rules on househelp hiring exempt from POEA rules

Tingnan mo nga naman si Mar Roxas. Eh pinag uusapan nila rules of hiring ng DH ng mga diplomats. Ni walang sinabi tungkol sa  biktima na si Marichu Suarez Baoanan. Wala ni isa man sa gobyerno ang
nag palabas ng reprimand or warning kay Amb. Lauro Baja. Di man lang na suspend si Baja. Ano ba yan…


By Veronica Uy

Posted date: July 10, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — The rules of the Department of Foreign Affairs
(DFA) allowing its foreign service officers to hire domestic helpers
does not go through the process required by Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (POEA) of foreign employers, Senator
Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said Thursday.

“We cannot have a set of standards for foreign employers and none at
all for Filipino diplomats because this affects the confidence of our
own workers in the objectivity, humanity, and professionalism of our
own foreign service,” he said in a statement.

Roxas’ reaction stems from the case filed in New York against former
Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Lauro Baja, his wife
Norma, and his daughter Elizabeth Facundo for alleged human
trafficking, slavery, fraud, and 12 other alleged violations of US

According to the DFA, its people posted abroad are allowed to
hire “personal staff,” the number of which depends on the hiring
person’s rank.

In an interview with INQUIRER.net, POEA Administrator Rosalinda
Baldoz confirmed that such hiring does not go through her agency.

“We are not part of the hiring process of HSWs (household service
workers) by DFA personnel. We are not part of the contract. No OEC
(overseas employment certificate) is required, that’s why we don’t
have any participation,” she said.

Roxas, a member of the powerful Commission on Appointments, which
confirms the promotion and assignment of ambassadors and other
personnel in foreign assignments, noted the irony that the Philippine
embassy is the “first place of refuge” of a Filipino domestic helper
abused by her foreign employer abroad.

He thus called on the DFA to adopt clear and uniform rules and
standards in the employment of Filipino maids by all government
personnel posted abroad.

“There must be a uniform contract stipulating a salary of not less
than $400 a month, with stipulated number of days off in a week, and
an assurance of adequate food and decent quarters,” he proposed.

“Violations of this contract by civil servants posted abroad must be
the subject of administrative sanctions and should be submitted to
the Commission on Appointments as part of our documentary
requirements,” he added.

The senator suggested that every contract of a domestic helper hired
by a Filipino diplomat, as well as attaches sent abroad like trade,
labor, and welfare attaches, must be registered with and
countersigned by the personnel office of the respective department.

“The adoption of fair and transparent procedures in the hiring of
Filipino maids by embassy personnel regardless of rank will redound
to the protection of both the diplomat and his or her kasambahay,”
Roxas said.

At the same time, he said, that the protection given to these
househelps should conform to the labor laws of the country where the
diplomat is assigned.

The senator noted that the controversy surrounding a case filed by
Marichu Suarez Baoanan, a Filipino nurse who was employed as a
domestic helper by the Bajas for three months, could have been
prevented had the DFA been more clear, assertive, and transparent
with its hiring policies in relation to domestic helpers.

Roxas said that regardless of who is telling the truth, the lesson of
the story is clear: the universal principles of decent work apply to

He urged the DFA to act fast and give a timeframe for drawing up
rules on the matter, so as to assure domestic helpers of their safety.




2 Responses to DFA rules on househelp hiring exempt from POEA rules

  1. izzy says:

    Baja is a former amb. retired na siya for a couple of years na. so he cannot be suspended. Sen Roxas is suggesting system wide solutions.

  2. […] public links >> dfa DFA rules on househelp hiring exempt from POEA rules Saved by kotatenk on Thu 20-11-2008 Various Artists – Nobody Knows Anything – DFA presents […]

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