Departing overseas Filipino workers are not required to wear Personal Protective Equipment, Sen. Pia Cayetano said.
The senator said she talked to the Department of Migrant Workers Sec. Susan Ople, who informed her of no such requirement for OFWs leaving the country.
Cayetano sounded the alarm after personally seeing departing OFWs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport bound for countries in the Middle East who are wearing PPEs and gloves.
She noted that the Philippine Overseas and Employment also issued Advisory No. 62, which prohibits any requirement for OFWs to wear full PPEs.
“With this order in place, violators must be immediately reported to authorities and dealt with,” the POEA said.
Cayetano said there could be unscrupulous people making money by forcing OFWs to pay for PPEs.
Senate Committee on Migrant Workers chairman Sen. Raffy Tulfo shared the theory of Cayetano.
“They are making money from ordering our OFWs to wear PPEs,” he said.
“They were asking them to wear those PPEs to earn extra money whoever they may be, whether manpower agencies or from the government. They’re requiring [because] they have cuts [from the PPE sales],” he added.
In a privilege speech, Cayetano two photos showing OFWs wearing complete sets of PPEs.
“I was shocked to see groups of Filipinos in complete PPEs. So I asked around, and I was also rushing to line up and get to my gate on time. So I was not able to converse with them lengthily,” she said.
She said the OFWs were even wearing footsies [shoe covers] that are usually used only in operating rooms, and gloves.
“It’s like the height of ridiculousness that you have to wear those footsies because they are walking around the whole airport where thousands of people enter, walk around every day, so there is nothing hygienic about being in footsies, as opposed to being in their regular rubber shoes or walking shoes,” she said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda also said this is a clear case of discrimination.