NEW YORK — It took them four years to get this groundbreaking memorandum of understanding, signed by the Philippine consulate general in New York.
Damayan Migrant Workers Association partnered with the consulate to come up with a system to protect and assist overseas Filipino workers, who are survivors or victims of trafficking.
“First ever of its kind, between foreign government, or between Philippine government and a worker center so talagang historical and groundbreaking,” said Riya Ortiz.
This MOU aims to protect and assist OFWs who were survivors of labor and human trafficking.
The Philippine consulate may provide them with travel documents such as passports, temporary housing assistance, financial assistance, legal support, and other aid.
“The MOU is holding the consulate accountable to the people who they’re supposed to serve,” said Ortiz. “I agree actually mandate ito ng consulate… ngayon meron nang kasulatan na actually, ito ang responsibility ng consulate, tapos amgtutulungan tayo kasama ng damayan para, iimpleemnt siya.”
Damayan says the MOU does not create binding and demandable obligation between two parties.
But with this MOU, victims, and survivors of human and labor trafficking can be assured that the community will be there for them, in times of needs.
“Ang problem niyan, dine-declare mo na ang mga ofws ay modern day heroes, when in fact they are modern day slaves… tulad niyan pag nalagay na sa trafficking situation, walang mahusay na serbisyo, kaya nga in-advocate talaga itong MOU eh, na hindi nila kasalanan ba sila nalagay sa ganyang position, at kung malagay man sila, dapat may naka set up ng system para mabilis nating silang matulungan.”
This pilot MOU covers only the ten states served by the Philippine consulate in new york.