International Migrants Day to highlight lost lives of OFWs

Dec. 15, 2015

By Kristine Gadiano, Davao Today intern

DAVAO CITY – Over 6,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were deployed abroad every year but not all of them were accounted by the government, a migrant advocacy group said.

Inorisa Elento, executive director of  the Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. (MMCEAI) said that among these unaccounted number of OFWs, “some of them had undocumented cases of death and disappearance on their work”. She added that these cases are called the “lost lives” of migrant workers.

Elento said the government was not able to figure out “the lost lives of OFWs because they already died, they have suffered from human trafficking, abuse from employers and were imprisoned abroad”.

“The best way that the government can do to ensure the safety of OFWs is to track their workplace abroad,” Elento said.

The MMCEAI is a migrant advocacy group and a service center for migrants and returning OFWs and their immediate families and communities.

Elento said that the protection for OFWs will only be possible through “political will”.

“The government should show conviction in telling that, ‘These are my people, these are my fellow Filipinos, I will protect them.’ If the government from other countries will not see this, it would be easy for them to abuse our OFWs,” Elento stressed.

She said, that the MMCEAI is working hard to help the individuals who decide to work abroad “to be prepared on whatever may happen there”. The group also lets the family and the communities join on the preparation.

“More of the issues on ‘lost lives of OFWs will be highlighted during the month-long celebration of the International Migrations Day by the MMCEAI and the International Organization for Migrants. The International Migrants Day is an activity recognized by the United Nations for local and overseas workers 15 years ago.

The celebration will be held at 3rd floor, Conference Room of the Sangguniang Panglungsod this December 18, 2015.(

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