Filipino domestic workers’ role in progress of society glorified - GulfToday

Filipino domestic workers’ role in progress of society glorified

Widowed single mother Emily Benitez, winner of the well-loved ‘Pera o Bayong’ (‘Money or Native Woven Bag’) and the ladies behind the multiple choice contest. John Varughese / Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Seven hundred forty-four household staff, a handful of them men, and some accompanied by their escorted or unescorted Emirati employers availed of the “Salamat, Kabayan!-First Thanksgiving Service for Filipino Domestic Workers in Dubai and the Northern Emirates” initiative of the Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Dubai on Saturday.

Consul General Renato Duenas Jr. and Labour Attache John Rio Bautista were grateful for the support of at least 40 individuals, including organisations such as the Filipino Social Club, the Philippine Health Professionals, the Philippine Nurses Association, FilBrit Training Centre and the Power Technical Training Centre (Power) for the project organised to recognise the domestic workers’ invaluable contribution to society as they were also provided with an exclusive day for the accomplishment of the mandatory documentation of their employment status, specifically their inclusion at the database of the Philippines’ Department of Migrant Workers through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and their memberships at the Philippines’ Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, PagIBIG Home Development Mutual Fund and the Philippines’ Social Security System.

An Emirati employer who arrived at the POLO-Dubai simultaneously with the arrival of Gulf Today at 9:30 a.m. said going there has been regular for him because he and his wife know the importance of their three household workers being fully documented. He waited until the staff he accompanied was done at a little past 2 p.m: “She (housemaid) is going for her vacation in December. We are making sure that all of her documents and her memberships in (the Philippine agencies are updated).”

Tadbeer broker Jomana Aklan-Mohamad deploys household service workers to the UAE through the Metro Manila-based Alphatoma agency. She was hopeful that the initiative be repeated; twice a year for the benefit of both the employers and their staff.

Volunteer widowed single mother all-around housemaid/nanny Leny Antonio was thankful that in her last 17 years in Dubai, all her employers – a Pakistani-Canadian family who had gone for good to Canada, an Irani-Australian family and her current Welsh employers – have given her the opportunity not only to enhance her skills through the FilBrit Training Centre but engage in community work as well. Speaking in the Ilocano language: “They are happy when I am happy. They want me to engage in activities for my self-improvement.”

Widowed single mother all-around/nanny Emily Benitez won a cargo gift voucher over the money offered her that ended at Dhs300 from the well-loved “Pera o Bayong” (“Money or Native Woven Bag”) contest. She defeated 29 other participants in the Philippines-UAE general information/current events multiple choice contest; the only one who correctly answered that it was in Sharjah in 2017 when the largest UAE flag was hoisted.

She works for a Pakistani-British household and her eldest, a Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology university scholar in their home province of South Cotabato in Mindanao, is taking up a Pre-Medicine course: “My madam brings home newspapers which I read in my free time. I also listen to the news while working. My employers understand.”

Guest speaker was Ester Castillo Vargas, who published her “Biriterang Makata” (“Singing Diva Poet”) collection second quarter of 2022. The Russian-Brazilian household nanny/chef earned a certificate course in culinary and caregiving at the FilBrit Training Centre.

She is finishing her food processing online course through the Philippines’ Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). She encouraged her audience to consider continuous learning: “You would reap the trust and respect of your employers. You could demand. They would think twice in belittling you especially if you have that certification. (My employers are confident to leave their children with me for I also know basic life-saving skills. I also serve them international dishes.)

The TESDA and Knowledge Human and Development Authority (Dubai)-accredited Power had so far given more than half of its 50 free full scholarship certificates, as of 1:30 p.m. In demand were the three-month Computer Digital Literacy and two-month Video Editing. Nanny from Sharjah Catherine Aquino was interested in the former saying it would also be good if given the chance “not to be static.”


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