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Thu 25 Oct 2007 12:17 PM

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GCC firms face crackdown on Filipino abuse

Philippines planning tougher legislation to stamp out discrimination and mistreatment.

Gulf businesses may face tougher legislation from the Philippines on the recruitment of Filipinos as the Southwest Asian country tries to stamp out discrimination and mistreatment of its citizens.

A Philippines congressman said on Wednesday the country plans to address the abuse of citizens working in the Gulf, as well as the low salaries many are paid, with stricter laws, Bahrain's Gulf Daily News reported on Thursday.

"We are trying to see what congress can do to help address these concerns by way of legislation," said Bienvenido Abante, House of Representatives Public Information Committee Chairman, quoted the newspaper. "It is time for our government to make some demands."

Speaking during a two-week tour of the GCC, Abante said the salaries and allowances of Filipino workers in the region should be raised to reflect their responsibilities.

Many of the two million Filipinos working in the Middle East work outside their government’s minimum wage rules.

"We are advising our domestic helpers not to enter any of these deals illegally because we are trying to raise their living standards," Abante added.

Earlier this years the Philippines ruled that Filipino housemaids who work abroad must now be paid at least $400 a month and raised the minimum age of housemaids working abroad to 25, prompting recruitment agencies to call for the GCC to ban Filipino worker from the Gulf.

Abante said he also plans to file a motion in parliament urging the Philippines Labour Department to change the title of domestic helpers to ‘care givers’, believing the move will lead to better treatment by employers, Gulf Daily News said.

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