3 Jun 2017

FDW Source country - Philippines

Content page - All topics
Maid/FDW's dental and medical
Maid with personal mobile phone
so many Bruises on my girl
Domestic maid's Off day

Minimum pay for Filipino maids to go up May 1: Philippine embassy, Channel News Asia
From May 1, the minimum salary for domestic workers from the Philippines will be raised from S$550 to S$570, the Philippines Embassy’s Overseas Labour Office (POLO-SG) said on Friday (Mar 31).  

In a notice to its more than 200 accredited employment agencies, the embassy’s Labour Attache Ramon Pastrana said this is due to the “fluctuation of exchange rates of the USD” in relation to the Singapore dollar.  The last revision for the minimum salary took place in 2012, where it went up from S$500 to S$550.  

Singapore has about 240,000 domestic workers and about 70,000 are Filipino.  The Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) said the salary revision was not unexpected, on the back of several meetings and discussions between the Labour Office and employment agencies.   “It’s not just about increasing the salary," said the association’s president, K. Jayaprema. "It’s still pegged to US$400, but because there’s an increase in exchange rate, this is a natural progression.”  (Winter: the Embassy contract that I signed in Mar for my FDW's OEC home leave, stated S$550 per month.  I do hope MOM can protect the employers but based on the usual practice, employers will eventually be made to part with more money but get more princess-attitude FDWs.  I have no choice.  If PAP govt is able to provide daycare centres for teens then I can be freed from the clutches of maid agencies, source countries and arrogant/bad performing FDWs.  It isn't easy to raise a child/youth with special needs, no substantial subsidy, thus, dual income is needed. Read)

But Ms Jayaprema acknowledged there would be “some concerns” among employers.  “Singapore employers are kind of price-sensitive, whether it’s about employment agency fees or salary,” Ms Jayaprema said. “And it’s not just about the basic salary. There will be a little bit increase in the compensation rate for the rest day.”

At least one maid agency Channel NewsAsia spoke to was in favour of the revised salary, saying it could help attract more high-quality domestic workers amid competition for such maids in Hong Kong and the Middle East.   (Winter: Hard to believe high salary = high quality FDWs.  Modern FDWs are net savvy, pampered and are brainwashed to place work performance to be the lowest, certainly not a KPI nor a "requirement to stay employable") 

“To stay competitive, we need to increase the salary, otherwise we will not have enough supply,” said Raymond Maids Employment Agency manager Matthew Lee.  “Currently, maids in Hong Kong have a higher salary, about S$770 equivalent,” he added. “With this increase in salary, we are able to attract more volume and better calibre maids into Singapore.”

Besides the pay increase, Mr Pastrana also spelled out the Labour Office’s plans to take a tougher stance on employment agencies who collect “placement fees” by deducting a portion of a maid’s salary.

Placement fees are service fees paid to the agency for its work in facilitating employment for the domestic worker. This includes paperwork and negotiations with prospective employers, among others.

Currently, under Philippine law, agencies are not allowed to charge any placement fees to domestic workers. But in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower allows agencies to deduct up to a maximum two months' worth of a domestic worker’s salary for placement fees. Agencies may choose not to deduct any amount as well.

According to the notice, the Labour Office “received reports that employment agencies in Singapore continuously charge Filipino domestic workers placement fees through salary deductions of one to eight months”.  "Due to this alleged blatant disregard of Philippine laws and regulations and despite the many briefings conducted by POLO-SG to address the situation, POLO-SG hereby announces the following policies to take effect immediately,” it said.

These policies include “immediate suspension of documentary processing” for agencies who collect placement fees through salary deduction. All accredited agencies will also be required to submit updated name and contact details and salaries of domestic workers, as well as the name and contact details of their respective employers.

Winter: why don't tell source countries to stop "selling" their own people?  You should stop marketing your own people, treat them like humans, allow these women to be interviewed and have the rights to say no AFTER reading the host country contract, including the costs imposed by agencies/middleman and job scope (for that particular household, not a standard list) BEFORE employers process employment.  In return, any FDW who is found cheating employers, deliberately unwilling to deliver an agreed job, has to be fined/punished.  No excuse, don't cry and claim FDWs have no money or didn't know.  

Source countries and Activists: Stop playing saints and prey on innocent parties, remove your wolf skins.  If you've brains and really want to put a stop, stop accusing others of committing modern slavery or human trafficking (read).  Having a demand for FDWs, don't mean you should blame the employers, become unscrupulous and evil.  Get to the root of the problem and not find ways to milk the defenseless employers (we've no NGO, no pro-employer govt/organisation).

Pay Filipino maids at least $550 a month, Straits Times, 21 Jan 2016
Employers will have to pay at least $550 a month to employ a Filipino maid, up from $500 - the first rise in three years.  This comes three months after the Indonesian Embassy here told agents that the minimum salary for maids from its country must be $550 a month, also up from $500.

Although there was no official announcement from the Philippines' side, employment agents here told The Straits Times that employment contracts submitted at the embassy last week had been rejected as the salaries were too low.

The minimum salary for maids set by the Philippine government had been US$400 for over a decade. To avoid exchange rate fluctuations, the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore) (AEAS) had an agreement more than three years ago with the Philippine Embassy here that it would be set at $500 locally, said AEAS president K. Jayaprema.

As the US dollar has strengthened - US$400 is now worth around S$575 - the change is not unexpected, she said. "Salaries do increase over time; it is a natural progression," Ms Jayaprema said, adding that while some groups of helpers such as those doing caregiving and eldercare roles were already being paid above $600 due to better qualifications, the majority still received around $500 a month.

Employers also have to pay a foreign worker levy of $265 a month, although a concessionary rate of $60 is available for most households, for instance those with a Singaporean child below the age of 16 or an elderly person aged 65 and above.

The Philippine Embassy's labour attache could not be reached for comment yesterday. There are about 70,000 Filipino maids here, out of a total of about 227,100 maids.  Just two months ago, the embassy tightened restrictions on its nationals coming to Singapore to work as maids, as it started processing only five employment contracts per employment agency each week. A few months earlier, it halved the number of job orders, which are the number of workers an agency can recruit at one time, allocated to each employment agency.

A Manpower Ministry spokesman said: "Employment agencies and employers who wish to recruit foreign domestic workers should consider requirements administered by foreign governments or embassies carefully when making their hiring decisions."

The latest change may cause some delays for employers waiting for their employment contracts to be approved, said Ms Jayaprema. Some agents will have to reapply for a work permit with the new salary and redo other paperwork such as the security bond.

Mr Stephen Chia of 21st Century Employment Agency said he had been expecting the increase after the Indonesian Embassy increased its minimum wage for maids and the US dollar appreciated.

"This month we already started to play it safe and tell employers to anticipate the adjustment," he said.

Facebook comment:
May Ong -- Before MOM agrees to all these countries' maids' salaries increase, have you ever thought if the people who employ these maids also get salary adjustment from their companies for justification ??
We as employers kept hearing the increase of maids' salaries like the recent one was Indonesian and now Filipino.
There had been a tremendous increase in maids' salaries from $200+ till now $550 which is a financial strain especially those people who are unemployed or earn less but still need the help of maid. 
Under such circumstances, our government ought to give us higher subsidies to cope with the ever increasing of maids' salaries.

Lisa Hong-Ping Kong -- Yah, sure, government should assign each family a helper (and 2 helpers for those with 2 kids or more) FOC! The whole world owes you, izit? If you cant bear even to pay a decent living wage to the person doing pah ka liau in your home, please save your money and do the work yourself. Overinflated sense of entitlement much?

William Sam -- What kind of warped logic do you have, may ong! How much they can exchange the pay here for when they go back home or how much more they get paid compared to their jobs back home should not have any bearing on how much we should pay them here!
Does it mean that if their previous job back home is sgd$50 a month then by paying them say $150, we have tripled their pay and so they deserve only $150? 
Maybe people like you would be earning very little overseas as well so your employer should not pay you so much here.

Julyn Elizabeth -- Totally agree with you, May Ong.
That's a 10% increment.
For those employed for elderly parents, no choice.
For those who are trying to start a family, will think twice now. That's not very encouraging, right?
Btw, what's the reason for the increment? Suka suka?

Guo Bao Xiong -- Ong Andy Of course who cares about millionaires like our prime minister. He can have a hundred maid each paid $5000. Many whom I know that employs maid are not wealthy, they're low income struggling with old parents, kids and work.

Merlyn Siew Lian Tan -- I've not had an increment for the last 6 years and I work my guts out!!! 
A 10% increment is hell high plus I have to cope with uni going kids ! 
Thank goodness , I DON'T have a maid now !!!!

Mary Mah -- True that Western countries most people do their own chores or hire part-time help, but note that they use daycare and assisted living for the aged facilities more than in Asia. A domestic helper play a role in supporting child, kids and elderly care.

Dhana Latchmi Mahesh -- Countries like Indonesia & Philippines just trying to protect their female citizens who choose to work overseas as maids.. Can't blame them.
But I agree that our government should do something to help those who require maid as well.. If both parents need to go to work, & there's no one else to take care of children or old people... There is no choice but to have a maid.. 
People who can't afford maid or can handle things without maid...r usually with family members with a helping hand to look after children, or only one of the parents earn a living & the other stays at home... Not the situation for lot of us Singaporeans where both parties had to work to make ends meet...

凤丽 -- Since we are going to pay more for helpers , then it is time for them to live out ,rent their own rooms from others , they get their freedom and we employers will feel less stressed out too .

Linda Tan -- Totally agree with may ong, maid salary keep increasing n how can those who employ maid pay for it if they rely need help. Rich sporean a lot but there also have poor sporean. Some poor employ maid becos of taking care their parent or children not others. So y cant MOM help sporean to have maid with low salary. Last time i also have maid n their salary only $230. Now $550, so is increasing of $220....i thk MOM is gng to increase their pay to $1000 n who is able to employ a maid with $1000 salary. Spore MOM is helping the maid n not the employer at all. Its very very unfair. Nowadays maid r not good at all n they only want freedom n work less n some more HIGH SALARY.

William Sam -- Those who insists that their maids are not good, why are you keeping them then?

Edmund Tan -- So by your logic, singaporeans who get employed in new york where the salary is much higher do not deserve the NYC salary? Should they be paid sg salary while living in NYC? Maids should belong only to the richest people. Maids in most developed countries get paid 2k++ and here people are complaining at $550. Unless you have some kind of disability, a maid is not a need but a want.

Sebastian Poggel -- Exactly Edmund. Fact is most Singaporeans can barely affor their life essentials let alone a proper car but then demand luxuries such as a maid. The heat has evaporated peoples brains, it's unbelievable. Where do people get such a sickening mentality?

Levin Ng -- Who is going to take care of the child when u r at work? The child care and infant care is so expensive. In singapore it is so difficult if only 1 person is working and the wife is not working. Your parents might be working too. So who is going to take care of youe child? Your boss?

Yip Kwang Low -- Ang mo FTs are the ones that employ pinoy maids and it is becoming a must have item because its cheap. Raising the levy is still very cheap for them. You don't find them employing maids back home bcos it is very expensive.

Liu INan  -- people asking how do you cope without a maid should be asking a different question, how did their parents raised them without maids. or are they really saying they are not the kind of tough Singaporeans their parents were?

Angie Liu-- Salary kept increasing but quality of maids is questionable. Just does not justify

May Ong Yep -- Angie Liu, got to depend on luck. Am also now having problem dealing with my 3-month Indonesian maid who has mood wing syndrome sigh.

Angie Liu -- All same same. My mom who has stroke n is half immobile has to tend to the indo maid everytime she "faint" as n wen she like. The maid will auto get up wen she feel like it. Sigh....

May Ong  -- Huh, my goodness and end up your half immobile mother got to attend to the maid ??!! If maid continues to be in poor health, it is high time to change a new one since she is of no help at all.

Feihua Ni -- Huh?? So the basic point is your employer must pay you more because the maids' government asked for more. And you guys accept this logic ?? And it is the Singapore's government fault ? Then what about those who don't employ maids? They don't deserve more ? Or if the foreign governments ask for yearly 25% increment you then demand 25% pay increment ? What the hell is wrong with you and your logic ?

William Sam -- Exactly! Something very wrong with their logic. Cannot afford maid then adjust lifestyle. 
Some people like to spend and enjoy life so need dual family income but are not willing to accept the need to employ a maid if they do so and want to complain about issues that arise only with the employment of maids.

Mei Liew -- Don't be fooled by the term "helper", most of them after post-probation period show their "true colors", you will see. Especially those living in town already seen quite a lot during weekends and sometimes weekdays too. 
Pay hike for the same or even poorer service, sounds like extortion, not protection. 
Protection of maid is to enforce the law when violation against human rights, more pay is plain money transaction.

Dolly Peh -- our poor NS men monthly allowance is only $10 more and Minister say it is a privilege to do NS yet the under privilege are better than our NS men. These maid dont have to worry about food & lodging and if they are thrifty and able to save S$5,000 they can build a nice 3 bed-room house in Philippine.

Angeline Lee -- It's time to stop hiring maids from the Philippines. The Philippines government has been dependent on maids' remittances for their GDP but has done little to improve opportunities in the country for its people. If your household finances can't afford a maid, car and overseas holidays twice a year, then make some sacrifices and give up one of these.

William Sam -- Maids help to take care of our kids and household chores so that we can focus on our careers. They are as important to a family as the school teacher. So if school teachers can get free parking and pay increment, why can't maids have pay increment?

Linda Tan -- If u dont have maid so u dont have problen with maid at all. So u better stop all this comment that giving increment for maid. So u thk all maid is gd? If maid is gd, last month there is a maid who abuse the employer 2 kids n so u thk maid abusing kids is gd for them? Killing employer also maid jobs n stealing money also their jobs too? Pls lah, maid can do whatever they want if employer not at home. They will create problem n be funny behind employer back n employer also dont know. I ever have maid so i know.

William Sam -- Going by your logic, those MPs who have no kids cannot comment on policies regarding children and those who did not serve NS cannot comment on NS issues. Your intellectual capacity is very impressive, Linda Tan.

Linda Tan -- Only brainless people will talk brainlessly... u idiot... how can u compare maid n teacher..... i thk u have damn low IQ n EQ....

William Sam -- Only people who are unsuccessful and do not earn enough to pay for the $50 increment like you will complain. I do not hear my friends complaining about it.

Mitch Oyonoyon -- It's a good thing but for sure only those who are newly hired will benefit this, coz there are helpers i know that worked more than 10 years in 1 employer but only get a $500 pay or even less. 
Some stayed that long just because they treat them well.

GothZela Eyang Putri -- I don't mind paying them more IF they are sincere in their work and honest. The gov should perhaps omit the levy totally since employers are already paying for Insurance, medical, lodging and so forth - what's more employers are liable if the helper run away or got pregnant and breach the contract.

Andrine Tan -- For those who are commenting how people in the west cope without maids, this is how. Working hours are much shorter. In some countries, they work a 4 day work week. Overtime is not as common as here, and bosses do not expect employees on standby after office hours. There are many hourly rated housekeepers and baby sitters to help out. It is time our government allow more maids from other countries eg Cambodia. A couple of years back, there was a pilot scheme with Cambodian maids. I wonder what has happened.

May Ong -- Our 37 year old Indonesia maid is married with hubby who is a farmer and a young son 13 yr old to support. Hence she certainly require her salary to support them. But I noticed she has mood swing attitude which I must tolerate her sulky face instead of otherwise sigh.

Joyce Ch -- Stay in yr own country n c if u can get a job that pay u 100. Gv jobs if u Hv to yr citizens get those lazy bum men to work.
It's not jus 500 ,plus levy plus feed n hse the maid n other expenses it can come up to 1000 plus.

Tay Cheng Hoe -- Foreign domestic worker are like any job, salary should commensurate with performance...if all the maid are sent home at once,the man at home will starve ...

Peter Tan -- No happy news for employers here except maids.The cost of hiring a maid is close to what a lower end worker earns in a month estimate 1k taking into account salary,levy,food and expenses.Certainly not cheap is it?  To those who can afford or even if struggling where they have no choice just accept that everything must rise in tandem with inflation.

Fiona Jael Ho -- What about my own salary...kids school fees, hospital bills and now maids salary is increasing. 
So what's the point of lowing down the levy, may I ask?

Mei Kim -- Take on more responsibility, work hard, and prove to your boss it would be worth it to give you more.

Chow Mincheong  -- Pay what is worth.....is better to pay a little bit more if she is loyal, honest n can perform to your acceptance plus satisfaction.

Winter:  Who wants to face FDW and the unscrupulous agency, as well as greedy source country?  I don't need a FDW in my house if PAP/govt can be more caring and understanding by providing a suitable special needs daycare centre for my girl.  So many years of feedback and emailing Ministers + PM Lee .... nothing at sight... fruitless!!  Do I have another choice?  Don't tell me to stay home take care of my own girl if easy money is not going to rain on us!

Philippine Embassy tightens maid supply, Straits Times, 30 Dec 2015
The Philippine Embassy has tightened restrictions on its nationals coming to Singapore to work as domestic workers, a move which, agents say, is likely to lengthen the waiting time for households looking to hire a new maid.

Since last month, the embassy has been processing only five employment contracts per employment agency each week, according to Ms K. Jayaprema, president of the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore).

A few months earlier, it halved the number of job orders allocated to each employment agency, from around 50 to just 25.  Job orders are the number of workers an agency can recruit at one time. When the job order is used up, they have to apply for a fresh order to be approved, which can take one to two months.

Employment contracts are processed for individual workers after in-principle approval has been given by the Ministry of Manpower.  However, the Ministry says it has not been informed of any new rule regarding a quota on Filipino foreign domestic workers, or a limit in the number of documents processed by the Philippine Embassy.

The embassy's labour attache could not be reached for comment yesterday. It was reported earlier this year that the embassy planned to reduce the total number of Filipino domestic workers here by 20 per cent over two years.  There are about 70,000 Filipino maids in Singapore, out of a total of around 227,100 maids. Around 1,000 Filipino maids arrive here each month.  

Agencies said the quota will increase the waiting time, which is already around three months, for families hiring new maids.  Nation Employment managing director Gary Chin said: "It makes it harder for bigger agencies, whereas smaller agencies with fewer clients may not be as affected. Maybe a general quota for the whole country could be used."

Ms Jayaprema estimated that 10 per cent of active recruiters, which number around 400 to 500, would be more affected as they are bigger agencies, or focus only on Filipinas.  Some agents also noted the quota could work against accredited agencies who work closely with the embassy, while having little effect on unlicensed agents.  "More and more maids may come in without paperwork from their government, which is an unhealthy outcome of this tightening exercise," said Ms Jayaprema.

One employer already being forced to wait longer is researcher Margaret Wong, 45, who applied for a new domestic helper in October.  Her previous helper had left Singapore in August after Ms Wong's father died. Ms Wong's right hand is in a splint after a fall and her 66-year-old mother has muscular dystrophy, so she finds it difficult to manage chores.

"I can get groceries delivered, but I still need to carry things," she said. "We need some help with day-today chores."

Facebook comments:
Andrew Singh -- Philippines economy is doing well compared with other emerging markets. As Philippines continue to grow, the country will rely less on export labor and helpers. Singaporeans must be self reliance and learn to do house chores or switch to part time hourly maids. I am 60 and I do house work independently and it is also a form of exercise to keep fit and more important -FOC without the need to go to the gym.

Jimmy UtdbyUtd Oh -- As our population aged and more seniors required medical attention and care, we can't deny the fact that we would need domestic helpers to look after our parents or grandparents who required attention and care. Most employers employ domestic helpers not because we are lazy to do house chores or we enjoy being looked after by someone. We have aged parents or infants and kids at home that required attention while we are at work. Employing domestic helper is much more cheaper than placing grandparents or parents at old forks home or nursery centre for infants or kids. Foreign Embassy should be more open minded on this issue and not tightens maid supply. No one is winner in this situation.

Genevieve Lim Hautier -- Look for other Asian countries that need foreign exchange to boost their economy. Look for maids elsewhere, maybe Eastern Europe or Central Asia.

Kyt Khoo -- If the government had jobs for their people in their country then y still so many girls are still willing to leave there country to work as domestics helper, nobody want to leave there family n love one to work aboard for 2 years. Philippine government pls think twice don't make your people life harder.

Eaglet Uno -- its not even a sleaze trade. justice system in SG protects them to the hilt. Unlike in Middle East, some got abused/raped without repercussion to their employers. Some even came back with their head stitched to their body after a death sentence if you know what I mean. if there is good income to be earned, why not ? the money will go a long way in paying off the living expenses & educational ones as well. why must their govt create more barriers for these group of ppl when they are only seeking better standards of living for themselves ? i have always address them as my helper, never a maid since day one. for me I see dignity in the role they are undertaking, just like any job we are undertaking ourselves.

Nieva Terrano -- Not just tighten but take more money from us before we can work Philippines milking cow now a days are ofw

Ye May Kyi -- In 5 years- time, Lucky Plaza won't be crowded anymore. Orchard area will be less-crowded in weekends. 
Anneys from Bangladesh and India will be heart-broken and consequently they all cannot tahan lagi that lonely and boring feeling anymore and will go back home for good. ....
and then as a consequences, what will happen to Singapore then? ...... .
Oops.....It's Domino Effect.......... 

Joyce Ch -- U shld b happy we giving jobs to yr poor ppl whom u can't feed back home. Men most r lazy bums don't work let women feed so shameless

Nick Lim -- If their men were hardworking the women needn't go out country to work

William Ong WL -- Wouldn't this make your people stop earning $$? If their country have better job for them, they wouldn't be a maid here. Is a lose lose restrictions.

Kim Siong Choong -- The Philippines people will suffer no matter how if their govt is too hard-headed in reaching their mandate..

菲再缩紧女佣批准程序, Mypaper, 29 Dec 2015



除了限制中介能提呈的女佣申请数目之外,菲律宾海外雇佣单位也调整了其他申请程序。该单位过去将发“工作订单”(job order)给中介公司当作例常程序,限制中介最多引进25名菲佣的订单一旦额满,新订单就会自动发出,但如今中介公司须另外提出申请,好些中介申诉说,等待新订单批准的过程可能长达两三个月。



Below news was out in Jan 2015 but didn't indicate each agency can only process 5 overseas application.  Mypaper reported MOM hasn't receive such notification. 

Hiring maids becoming dearer with new rules, AsiaOne, Jan 2015
Tighter regulations may soon make hiring foreign maids from Indonesia and the Philippines a more costly affair.  The Philippine government is looking to introduce a quota on foreign maids in Singapore, which could see the supply of maids here dropping by as much as 20 per cent.

Currently, there is no quota on the number of Filipino domestic workers who come to Singapore. But industry players estimate that 1,000 Filipino maids arrive here each month.  "The plan is to bring down the total number of Filipino domestic workers in Singapore by about 20 per cent in the next two years," said Mr Vicente Cabe, labour the Philippine Embassy here.

If the quota and the minimum wages are enforced, maid agencies here warn that the cost of hiring a maid could rise sharply.  A drop in the supply of domestic workers will in turn drive up the fees that Singapore employers pay because demand for maids is still high, said agents.

Nation Employment managing director Gary Chin said: "The new rules set by the Indonesian government reduces the money that recruiters earn. So, they will be less willing to recruit maids. The supply will slow down."

Currently, employers pay agencies as much as $2,000 to hire a Filipino or Indonesian domestic worker. A Filipino maid earns around $500 a month.  But much will depend on how strictly the foreign governments enforce these new rules, as not all agencies follow the rules, said the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore.

When contacted, the Ministry of Manpower said it was not informed of new rules introduced by the Indonesian and Philippine governments.  "Employment agencies and employers should take these additional requirements into consideration when making their hiring decisions on foreign domestic workers from both countries," said a ministry spokesman.

22 Nov
Cost to employ a Filipino maid, DIY
one way ticket$100
taxi to airport pick FDW$50
IPA (MOM employment letter)$0
Work Permit & collection$50(WP can be mailed to employer's house)
Medical screening+ FDW pick up $120
24 months insurance$300
Agency inflated the costs 4.8 times, making each FDW pay about S$3400, equivalent to 7 to 8 months free labour.

FDWs were cheated by recruiters to come to Spore.  Not our fault, employers didn't force any poor or ambitious dream women to step into recruiters' office based in respective source country.  Since we're hiring FDWs based on agency's bio data and paying all the inflated costs, painstakingly gave in-house training, why are we taking the blame for FDWs' plight?  Aren't Employers pitiful and wrongly squeezed?  Why FDWs are not required to be fully responsible for their actions?

If activists are so kind, shouldn't they counsel and educate women in source countries.  Why agencies need not breakdown fees before these women fly out of their countries?  I assume source country sees this 'cheating game' like a lubricate trade, turn a blind eyes to unscrupulous recruiters, continue to deceive poor women who merely want a good income, a salary that their country can't promise or offer .... to be marketed as maids.  Maid loan is something these women had to bear, not just in Spore, happens in Malaysia and Hong Kong, how come these women are unaware and kept assuming they were tricked into slavery by Sg employers?  Source countries are fully aware of placement fee.  Instead of restricting the recruiters, they kept pressing employers to pay more salaries.  Obviously the source countries played a great part in the scam!  

You gave these women chances to play the role of victims and put your weight on this tiny Red Dot.  You, sickening humans know PAP/MOM is afraid of saying NO to big countries.  You people pretend to be blind and deaf.... find every ways to eat us, milk us and claimed slavery exist!

Compared to below, are FDWs really having tough ... inhuman lives in Spore? Shouldn't FDWs be grateful, less demanding and be appreciative towards law-abiding/nice employers .... don't be lead astray by activists?  We are helping one another, am I not right? Salaries kept going up, Employers have been dutifully paying for FDWs' services yet we didn't get better helpers, is that fair/justifiable?

I hope my future FDWs can be real helpers, don't give me problems, let me concentrate on my work and not her man-made issues/princess attitude.  I am not asking to make each and every of my cents worth (nobody is perfect) but at least, don't make me feel like my luck matters when the need to have a new maid arises.  Maid agencies and MOM ought to ensure FDWs are truly here to work and willingly carry out their duties as per individual household requirements.  Work scope must be clearly outlined to avoid misunderstanding.  It is agent's duty to exercise due diligence, ensure the best job match and don't just pocket our money without providing customer satisfaction .... both FDW and Employer are agencies' customer! 
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/19/philippines-youth-labour-idUSL8N13E30G20151119#5ASLrBVayjYxhBvk.97 Lianhe Zaobao

"The work was really, really hard. I worked long hours and carried heavy sacks of rice and timber pieces from the mountains," the boy said. "But I couldn't give up. I had to work so my younger siblings could go to school."

Millions of children in the Philippines are forced to work at young ages. Child labour is one of the Philippines' most urgent problems and stems from a range of social factors. According to the International Labor Organization, as many as 3 million children work in environments that are considered hazardous and an additional 2.5 million children are forced to work in slightly better but still substandard conditions.

Some children have jobs that place them in immediate physical danger. These risks include exposure to potentially harmful chemicals or sharp tools, and other dangers that may be less obvious but no less risky. Children are often forced to work long hours with few breaks, which takes a toll on their physical development. Others are abused by their employers, both physically and psychologically.

More than 45 percent of people in the Eastern Visayas are poor compared with 25 percent nationwide, according to the World Bank. "Poverty is the main reason why many children leave school," said Donabelle Abalo. "But it's also part of the culture. Many parents don't value education because they didn't finish school themselves." Even though education is free, many children do not attend school because the cost of books, uniforms, meals and transport is prohibitive for their families.

Fewer maids going abroad as Manila curbs biteStraits Times, 17 Aug 2015

The Philippines has sent fewer maids abroad this year in what the government says is proof that labour curbs meant to protect a sector "prone to abuses" are working.  Data released by the labour ministry showed that 55,961 went abroad from January to May, 20 per cent fewer than the 70,034 posted a year earlier. Deployment to Singapore fell from 4,853 to 3,798.  There are more than 1.5 million Filipino maids working abroad. At least 70,000 are in Singapore.

Prior to the drop, the number of Filipino maids processed for jobs outside the Philippines had more than doubled from 71,557 in 2009 to 164,396 in 2013, according to the latest available data on the website of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The latest numbers show that Manila's "relentless" reforms to ensure maids get at least US$400 (S$562) a month without paying placement fees are working, said Labour Minister Rosalinda Baldoz.  The Philippines stopped sending its women to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in June last year after the government refused to recognise contracts guaranteeing Filipino maids the minimum pay of US$400 a month.

Only 215 Filipinas were deployed to the UAE from January to May from 13,440 a year earlier.  It was not explained how the maids made it to the UAE despite the ban. But earlier reports said there is now a thriving black market for maids in the emirates because of the Philippine ban.  Manila has been reining in on maid deployment as abuses remain a concern. Last year, photos of a 23-year-old Filipina in Saudi Arabia with burns on her back, arms and legs appeared on Facebook.

In a 2013 survey by the Mission for Migrant Workers of some 3,000 maids in Hong Kong, one in five said she has been beaten by her employers. More than half said they have been verbally abused, and 6 per cent claimed to have been molested.

Recruitment firms say the 20 per cent drop was a result of Manila's heavy-handed policies, coupled with an inept bureaucracy.  A coalition of recruiters and travel agencies earlier called for an industry-wide rally to protest against what they saw as the unreasonable implementation of rules.  Regulators had been suspending or cancelling licences without public hearings, the group said.

"Sometimes, preventive suspensions are dished out based only on a Facebook post or an unverified news report," said recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani.  The POEA has already cancelled the licences of at least 280 recruiters since 2012, he added.  Mr Geslani said glitches in passport-processing had also been a big problem. It takes a maid at least two months to get a passport, he added.

The foreign ministry has admitted that its passport backlog ballooned to 42,230, forcing it to extend expiring passports for at least a year.  Mr Geslani added that the 20 per cent drop "means over 14,000 did not get jobs and are now jobless". Central bank data shows that remittances from more than 10 million Filipinos abroad - a major economic engine for the country - dipped in January-May this year.

Remittances grew on average 5.4 per cent, compared with 6 per cent a year earlier and 7 per cent in the years after the 2008 financial crisis.

In his State of the Nation address earlier this month, President Benigno Aquino said fewer Filipinos are leaving the Philippines as robust growth under his term has been creating jobs offering competitive salaries.

Safeguarding maid employers' personal data, ST Forum, 6 Mar 2015
Ms Alice Cheah highlighted concerns about the Philippine Embassy's requirement for additional documents that contain confidential information of potential employers of Filipino foreign domestic workers ("Not safe to reveal employers' details to third party"; Feb 24).

The Association of Employment Agencies, Singapore (AEAS) shares the same concerns and has convened a meeting with the embassy to discuss the matter.  We understand from the embassy's labour attache Vicente Cabe that the additional documents serve to confirm that the foreign domestic worker's (FDW) salary meets the minimum requirement set by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and that the employment agency is accredited by the embassy.

Through AEAS' intervention, Mr Cabe has agreed that employment agencies would not be required to submit documents that contain confidential information on the FDW's employer to the embassy.

We assure agencies and employers that we have successfully addressed the concerns and safeguarded employers' confidential information.  This will be relayed to all agencies accredited by the embassy.

K. Jayaprema (Ms)
Association of Employment Agencies, Singapore

Not safe to reveal employers' details to third party, ST Forum, 24 Feb 2015
At a recent briefing to members of the Association of Employment Agencies, Singapore (AEAS) by labour attache Vicente Cabe from the Philippine Embassy, it was highlighted that it is mandatory for employers who wish to hire Filipino domestic workers who are currently in the Philippines to submit the full set of application forms accompanying the in-principle approval (IPA) letter from the Ministry of Manpower.

One of the forms attached to the IPA details the employer's private and confidential information, such as financial status, occupation and place of work, date of birth, and identity card numbers and birth certificate numbers of family members.  How this information serves to protect the Filipino workers' interest is baffling.

In fact, it has become a constraint in employing Filipinos for domestic work.  By revealing their personal particulars to a third party who is not within the jurisdiction of Singapore, employers here are potentially jeopardising their safety and interests.  Such information can be passed on to virtually anyone, so it would be impossible to catch anyone who does so.

Revealing one's personal particulars when one is not seeking employment, but doing the employing, is throwing caution to the wind.

The AEAS should safeguard its members' client-employer interest with regard to this new requirement by the Philippine government.

Let's be friends on FB, Manila tells maids, Mypaper, 3 Mar 2015
The Philippine government is asking Filipina maids abroad to be its "friend" on Facebook, so it can better watch over their welfare.

In a memorandum circular issued on Feb 24, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said maids working outside the Philippines should have a Facebook account and add POEA and their recruiters as friends.  POEA also made it mandatory for recruitment and placement firms to have Facebook accounts, and to include in their list of friends all maids they are sending overseas.  Agencies without Facebook accounts will not be allowed to send maids abroad from this month, POEA said.

Its administrator, Hans Leo Cacdac, said the idea is for Facebook to serve as a communication platform to "ensure that the worker's interests are amply protected and their well-being and welfare are promoted".

Agencies are supposed to monitor their maids and then report cases of abuse or work-related disputes. Using Facebook is meant to make monitoring easier.  "Keeping in contact with domestic workers using Facebook is a good move," Vicente Cabe, the Philippines' labour attache in Singapore, told The Straits Times yesterday.

He said: "Facebook is free, and many domestic workers use it. It will be another way to communicate with the domestic workers and for them to contact the Philippine government officials if they need help."

Emmanuel Geslani, a consultant for the recruitment industry in the Philippines, said using Facebook makes sense since most maids already have a Facebook account.  "You can see from their posts whether they are happy, sad, if they are complaining about something," he said.

"What (POEA) wants is for the agencies to know immediately that there's a problem, so that they can react faster, not when the maids have already run away and have been at a welfare centre for two weeks," said Mr Geslani.

But he said convincing the maids to keep the government and recruiters as their Facebook friends presents a challenge. The circular does not say what happens if maids, once deployed, unfriend POEA and their recruiters or deactivate their Facebook accounts.

POEA has been pushing recruiters to come up with ways to keep tabs on how Filipino workers abroad, especially maids, are being treated by their employers, as abuse remains a concern.

In a 2013 survey of about 3,000 maids in Hong Kong by the Mission for Migrant Workers, one in five said they had been beaten by their employers. More than half said they had been verbally abused, and 6 per cent claimed to have been molested.

There are 1.5 million Filipina maids working abroad, about 70,000 of them in Singapore.  The Philippines is looking at bringing down the number of maids who come to Singapore by 20 per cent from about 1,000 each month, and laws are being proposed to cut by half the total number of maids abroad.

July 2014
Facebook comments regarding "Going around the system to meet demand for maids"
Kwm Law:  Well there's always a choice. U took the money and agreed to meet the customers' demands. How can it be customers' fault when you fail to enlighten them?

Liana Kastoba:  So, now it's EMPLOYERS fault???!

Ng KiatKuan:  Most maid agencies are run by $$$ face .. So far I have no good experience

Jeffrey Seow:  Don't blame the employer, you people wants money to comes in quickly but you do not have maid onhand. What a stupid excuses are you trying to tell the world. We call this cheating. This kind of agent should have their license provoke and close it.

Shinrui Chouu:  employers, go learn to manage yr household first then u can manage a bit better w/o domestic helper for short time, so no one can blame ya for rushing and using unlicensed recruiters which is not directly yr fault.

Silvester Chua:  Don't blame it on employers. The latter cannot force the agencies to do something they don't want to do.

Indang Esa:  In my experience, whether the employer gets her maid early or late, there is no guarantee you will get a good one. Ultimately maid agencies earn money fr the employer n maid in the event the employer is not satisfied w the maid.

Aseesa Fs:  No one is forcing them to go to an unlicensed agency? It's just an excuse to fill up the demand and earn quick bucks . There r so many agencies one could go to if it's difficult to get the maids that's all.

Lucy Ng:  I waited 6 weeks to get a fikipino and in 2nd day she say she dun want to work anymore. I spend vkose to $2,000 and now i have to pay another $800 if i need another maid.

Henry Tang:  Shorten the documentation procedures thus cutting short the waiting time. Do you think 1 to 2 months to bring in a maid is short?

Agency's reason to turn to illegal recruiter is to meet employer's urgent demand.  Do you agree this is a valid reason to pay high agency fee but thought your FDW was hired legally?  Your agent was dishonest.

Should employer sign an agreement for urgent requirement and 'forcing maid agency to deal with illegal source country recruiters'?  Should source country/agencies take opportunities to eat as much meat from the FDWs before allowed to reach Spore?  Don't you think MOM should eliminate employers who intentionally jack up demands - suggest MOM to make those high income earners, expatriates/work permit holders, employing 2 maids or PRs to pay more.  

Don't you think MOM/PAP should show it cares for its needy citizens, meaning those employed FDWs for special needs persons, to be given better chance to employ good and timely-arrived FDWs?  If MOM/PAP is trying to build an inclusive society, didn't purposely make needy families fall thru the cracks, MOM can screen thru all the work permit applications and approve those who need a FDW.  Hold on to those applications applied by high income earners (earning combined income above S$8000/month - they are rich enough to employ as many hourly paid domestic helpers), expatriates/work permit holders, intend to employ 2 maids or Spore Permanent Residents.  

There are more and more people employing FDWs thinking they are dirt cheap (didn't add in hidden costs, blinded to see only the salary portion) and is a 'deal that cannot be missed' .... the expatriate kind of mindset.... such people are creating an imbalance and causing FDW market to be flooded by poor quality maids, in order to meet the demand!  Such employers, MOM should take a long time to screen and approve their work permit application.  This category of people ought to pay more fees and be ranked the lowest in the approval list. This people can show off their money elsewhere, don't create miseries to others who cannot afford to sit at home and shake legs.

It is unfair to Citizens who need maids but were snatched by those who don't need to rely on the help of FDW .... they have plenty of choices or they don't even need a live-in FDW yet rushing to get a 'cheap FDW' (in their eyes)!  MOM, please pass the right message, FDWs to be given priority - hired by needy and household income that is less than S$8000 per month.... not meant for the RICH tai tai, PRs and self-centred expatriates!

One activist commented "Since Singaporeans are able to enjoy the benefits of poverty in nearby countries, which translate into extremely cheap labor beyond the protection of the Employment Act, MOM should continue to do its best in ensuring that those poor workers are treated with minimum standards of decency." ....huh, what!  These people thought Sporeans are very rich!  How many of you are enjoy the benefits of poverty in nearby countries?  
Answer: Expatriates (culprits for all the human rights nonsense) working in Spore who adamantly felt maids are underpaid.  To them, employing FDWs is a luxury which they will never get a chance to enjoy back home.  Who is taking advantage of Spore FDW loopholes?  Activists, source country, the rich and work permit holders/expat.  One live-in maid cost about S$1500 - it is not cheap!  Foreigners are paid very well, better than citizens, which lead them to think that kind of salary (eg S$5000 per month) is normal and usual.  It didn't sink into their heads, S$5000 per month could be a combined income (husband and wife).  

IF I AM RICH, I don't need to work.  If I have lots of money for me and my special needs girl to live till the day we leave this cruel world, no need to rely on anybody for sympathy, do I need to work?? Do you need to work if you're rich?  You can shake legs at home and don't have to worry about finances.  If I don't need to work, can stay house, why should I 'donate hard earned money' to FDWs, MOM and maid agencies?  Crazy activist theory!  Those activists/expats with mentality "Maids are meant for the Rich" is really screw loose. I really don't know what kind of brains and hearts they have ... malfunctioned/perforated!  I need an income but there's nobody, no special needs daycare centre for my girl so besides employing a poor quality and stuck-up maid, what else can I do to stay employable and earn an income in Spore?  Do you know the meaning of trying to sustain life in Spore with a low or middle income - combined income of couple is from $1000 to $7000?  Is this a lot compared to what expats and foreign talents are earning?

FDWs earned more than our low income citizens and highly protected by MOM but foreigners/activists chose not to believe such a fact and kept biting on mid-income local employers!  They said no money don't employ domestic helpers.  To them, they want the same system as per their country - maids are meant to be employed by the rich, not meant for the needy ... poor employer, example me.  They seemed to be keen to make us lose our jobs, stay home look after our children, live in poverty, no spare cash or money for 'rainy season'.  Foreigners/activists are usually imported talents (never suffered, haven't tasted pocket not enough cash) earning more than enough to use their money to smash us 用钱砸我们.  These people enjoy sowing discord, unappreciative, are extremely selfish and horrible.  They simply cannot adapt to our culture, learn more about our lifestyle and salary scale.  Whatever make them look good and able to step on us, they will push for it and happy to join the fun!  Some foreigners are really a sore because they don't value us or respect this tiny country that PAID THEM SO WELL.  They don't appreciate good job offers given to them, at the expense of locals.  

Going around the system to meet demand for maids, TODAY, 24 Jul 2014
Agencies in both Singapore and the Philippines have to process documentation for domestic workers before they can enter the country.

This long process sometimes makes it difficult to meet the demand of employers who need domestic workers, some as soon as one week, forcing many agencies to turn to unlicensed recruiters.

Checks with eight maid agencies found that the average time it takes to recruit, train and process the documentation for domestic workers in the Philippines and Indonesia is about two months, before they finally arrive in Singapore.

“Many agencies find having to go through the embassy processes actually quite tedious because it takes a longer time to recruit candidates,” said Association of Employment Agencies president Ms K Jayaprema. “Employers are very impatient; they want their girls to arrive in a week or 10 days.”

Mr Edmund Soon, owner of FC Maid Agency, said to beat the stiff competition in the industry, agencies would turn to illegal recruiters to meet employers’ demands.

“For us here, we just need to get approval from the ministry and the maids can come in. However, it is the source countries that have many regulations to follow. That is why some agencies try to bring in the maids directly by telling the immigration officials that they are coming in as tourists,” he said.

The number of transfer maids, who are available for immediate hiring, is not enough to meet the demands in the market, he said.

Other maid agencies have tried to circumvent this problem by recruiting maids from Myanmar.

Despite catering to a smaller pool of employers, Myanmar workers can be brought into Singapore within a few weeks as the country has not yet worked out an accreditation scheme.

Of the eight maid agencies TODAY contacted, two have turned to recruiting from licensed training centres in Myanmar.

Ms Yvonne Ho, owner of Maid Society, said there were just too many restrictions in place for Filipino and Indonesian maids. “It is very fast in Myanmar. For those who do not have a passport, we just need around 10 to 14 days to get a passport.

“Once the employer has confirmed the maid and the passport is ready, we will do an application to bring her into Singapore,” she said.

Read:  PEM Maid Employment Agency, Yvonne Phua and 13 Filipinos, believed to be trafficking and doing illegal recruitment.  Reason is lack of POEA authorization to hire and send workers to other countries.

Philippine partners responsible for maid documentation, say S'pore agencies, Channel News Asia, 22 Jul 2014
Maid agencies in Singapore say the onus is on the partners they work with in the Philippines to ensure proper documentation for bringing Filipino maids into Singapore.

Singaporean Yvonne Phua, who is currently under arrest in the Philippines for suspected human trafficking, allegedly brought Filipino maids into Singapore illegally as a recruiter for PEM Maid Employment Agency. But the agency claims that its maids have proper certification issued by the Philippine authorities.

Filipino maids have to pass a whole battery of certification and accreditation requirements with the Philippine authorities before they are allowed to work in Singapore. These include the Pre-Departure Registration and Orientation Seminars (PDOS), as well as certifications with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). However, these requirements are separate from those set by Singapore's Manpower Ministry.

Maid agencies in Singapore say the onus is on the partners they work with in the Philippines to ensure proper documentation to bring Filipino maids into Singapore, stressing that only accredited companies are able to produce the relevant documents.

Ms Ivy Lee, managing director of Maid-Power, said: "The agencies here who are bringing the girls - they have to be accredited with the Philippines Embassy. And that would mean we need to submit documents, our licence, and we also need to submit a copy of our counterparts’ licences. So when we do accreditation, we will know whether or not our partners are licensed. Because if they are not, there's no way they can produce documents for us to submit to the embassy.”

Many Singapore-based maid agencies need to tie up with Philippine counterparts due to difficulty in meeting the requirements, such as local Filipino ownership conditions, to set up a recruitment source.

However, agents from Singapore-based maid agencies are allowed to work together with their Philippine partners to interview, train or supervise the recruitment process within the premises of the accredited partner agency, even though the agent is not visiting the country for work.

K Jeyaprema, president of Association of Employment Agencies Singapore, said: “I think as long as you're involved in any type of recruitment process, even if it's supervising, or even if it's overseeing - it is considered to be a recruitment activity.”

Ms Phua's case rests on whether her Philippine partner company can indeed prove that it is licensed to operate as a recruitment agency in the Philippines.

A joint CIDG and National Bureau of Investigation task force found 39 women reportedly being prepared for travel to Singapore, during a raid of the Abellars' offices in Las Pinas, south of Manila.
Chief Inspector Jasmin confirmed that the Abellars were working as recruiters for PEM Maid Employment Agency. An online check showed the name matches an agency in Singapore with an address in Woodlands.

The raid followed complaints filed by five women against PEM. They claimed they were asked to pay placement fees for jobs in Singapore that never materialised.  "The agency is not duly authorised to recruit and deploy overseas Filipino workers," said the chief inspector in a statement.

Also arrested were suspects identified only as Eric, Emma and Mandy, and eight others who were not named - all described as "trainers".

Maids 'on display', The Straits Times, 5 Jul 2014
Two Singapore maid agencies have been barred by the Philippine government from recruiting Filipinos as they are being investigated for marketing maids as "commodities".  Manila launched the probe after Homekeeper and Budget Maid were named in a news report last Friday for having displayed maids in "galleries".

Some domestic workers sat at the agencies' shopfronts. But most of the women were sitting in the offices reading books or chatting with one another.  Agents who were interviewed said the domestic workers are not on display, and are there to meet potential employers.

Operations manager Lilian Ho of Innova Resource in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre said: "The domestic workers need to be here to be interviewed by employers. How else can they get jobs?"  The agents said the "mock living rooms" described in the report are training rooms, with furniture for the women to clean, and baby dolls which they use to learn how to care for infants.

While the rooms provide less-than-authentic work environments, the agents say the women still get to brush up on their skills.  MOM said it is "not unreasonable" for the maids to be seen doing chores in the agencies as some have training areas.  United Channel managing director Kerri Tan, whose agency has a training room in Katong Shopping Centre, agreed. She said: "The maids are actually learning. It is not for show."

The agents also clarified that their "$1 maid" banners are meant to grab attention, and do not actually mean that employers will pay only $1 to hire a maid. MPL Employment Agency boss Roy Siah said: "How can it be true that you will spend only $1? We will explain to employers that there will be extra fees."  Maids said they do not feel uncomfortable waiting to be interviewed by employers in their agencies' offices.  Ms Nanyati Moe, 25 and from Myanmar, said: "Employers can see me when I am here. If they like me, they will hire me. Then I can earn money for my family."

Philippines takes action at maid against two agencies in report.  TODAY, 3 Jul 2014
The Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), or AEAS, yesterday dismissed claims made in a recent Al Jazeera article that maid agencies here are putting foreign domestic workers (FDWs) “on display” at shopping malls and treating them as “commodities”.

In response to media queries, a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) spokesperson said it had visited employment agencies in the two shopping centres mentioned in the report — Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and Katong Shopping Centre.

The Al Jazeera report,others.shed last Friday, said the agencies in the malls “display women at work” and that the FDWs “sit beneath garish signs and posters, testifying to their friendliness and industriousness, or advertising ‘super promo’ rates and ‘special discounts’”.

Yesterday, Philippine Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a statement that the Philippine Overseas Labour Office had taken action against two employment agencies mentioned in the report. It suspended the accreditation of Homekeeper Agency — barring it from recruiting FDWs from the Philippines — for engaging in “the so-called ‘discount on maids’ marketing strategy” and referred Budget Maid Agency to the MOM as it was not accredited to recruit FDWs from the country.  The Philippine Embassy’s labour attache Vicente Cabe said the temporary suspension was imposed because investigations are being conducted.  Mr Cabe had previously told The Straits Times that he had visited Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and found that the Al Jazeera article “doesn’t seem to have basis”.

Speaking to TODAY, he reiterated: “We didn’t see (in the mall) what was reported ... we just saw the applicants sitting inside the office. Some agencies had advertisements saying they only charge this much for the service fees.”  He added that Homekeeper and Budget Maid “have not been found to have (committed) any wrongdoing yet”. Still, the embassy has asked the MOM to investigate, he said.  The embassy yesterday held a meeting with AEAS representatives and four employment agencies, including Homekeeper.

The MOM spokesperson noted that as some agencies have training facilities in their front offices, “it is not unreasonable for FDWs to be performing such chores at the employment agency’s premises”.  AEAS president K Jayaprema added: “There are many agencies that use the office premises to train the girls ... We’d rather not have candidates sit around idling and chit-chatting — you might as well do some training.”  She said the FDWs are at the agencies’ offices to wait for employers to pick them up or for interviews from prospective employers.

On the allegation that the agencies were offering discounts on FDWs, she pointed out that the photograph accompanying the Al Jazeera article showed an advertisement for a discount on the agency’s service fees — and not on the services of the domestic workers. “Any business person has the right to offer a discount,” Ms Jayaprema said.  She added: “It is a flawed article ... We’ve done our visits (to the malls) and we don’t think there is any violation.”  Still, Ms Jayaprema suggested that the agencies move their waiting and training areas to the back of their offices to prevent such misperception and word their advertisements more clearly.

The ASEAS is appealing to the Philippine Embassy on behalf of Homekeeper. It also hopes the suspension will be lifted as soon as possible.  Budget Maid could not be reached for comment.  Homekeeper managing director Carene Chin said the agency has contacted the Philippine Embassy and provided evidence to prove that the allegations were false.  She added that the agency was considering its legal options.  The allegations are “nonsense”, Ms Chin said. “It is a very irresponsible article, (the author) has not done his research well. Just ... jumping to conclusions.”  Al Jazeera did not respond to queries by press time.

The MOM spokesperson stressed that inappropriate display of FDWs at the premises of employment agencies or advertising them as being “available for hire at cheap or discounted prices” were unacceptable practices.  The spokesperson said: “MOM proactively audits Singapore employment agencies and those found to have acted in a manner detrimental to the interest of the FDWs will be dealt with in accordance with the Employment Agencies Act.”

The Manpower Ministry's respond to media reports on the treatment of Filipino maids in Singapore.
MOM has said inappropriately displaying foreign domestic workers at employment agencies in Singapore, or advertising them as being “available for hire at cheap or discounted prices”, are “unacceptable” practices.

“MOM requires employment agencies to be responsible and accord basic respect in their practices to both their clients - the employer and the foreign domestic workers - and expects them to exercise sensitivity when marketing their fees or services,” the ministry said in a statement sent to Channel NewsAsia.

The ministry said it proactively audits employment agencies in Singapore, and these agencies are informed that they are not allowed to restrict foreign domestic workers’ movements, or make them remain outside the agencies’ premises against their will.  

Winter:  How nice and caring of MOM to tell maid agencies not to restrict FDWs' movement.  If anything happens, the maid who is sitting at the agency waiting to be fished, bears no losses.  If she gets hurt or did something bad/illegal while given 'free movement', whoever is the existing employer will be forced to pick up that maid's costs and irresponsible actions. How would you know FDW didn't date man?  How would you know she's not moonlighting?  MOM can recommend lots of things in FDWs' favour, what can you do?  MOM wants to impress foreigners and repeatedly placed employers at disadvantage, who's there to say words of fairness?  If Philippines is so protective and caring, why it is not doing the same for Filipinos working in its country and give them minimum salary... or legislate everybody can get a job but earn 10% of a Spore FDW's salary (based on cost to hire a FDW at S$1500 per month)? 

I do not agree maid agency should get FDWs to do work in the name of training.  Training should be done in a proper training centre.  The transfer maids that I was keen to interview, the agencies have pre-arranged for them to wait at the agency.  I did happen to meet a few FDWs idling at the agency or chit-chatting.  One of them was away so the agent rang her to come over.  Another was on her way back to agency, holding a bag of coffee (my ex-maid, J)... I was then a walk-in customer with no appointment.

My current maid said, maids waiting for transfer were asked to run errands for the agents eg go to embassy to do passport renewal, home leave application, etc ... are these relevant domestic training?  When JA renewed her passport last year, the agent sent a waiting-to-be-transferred maid to meet me and pass me JA's new passport.  That maid asked me whether I want a maid!  She is a FDW, not a staff but agent told me her staff will meet me (over the phone)!  

All I want to highlight is that MOM is treating FDWs too well, made recommendations/laws at our expense and doesn't care how much unfair liabilities employers have to bear!  We are merely ATM machines, activists/MOM seemed not to noticed we're human too!  Take note a lot are salaried-employers, not earning enough to live very well!

Philippines is a source country with no doubt, has Filipinos who can speak basic English but this country is super demanding, too proud and self-centred.  It is better to drop Philippines as a source country if MOM cares about citizens.  Filipino FDWs are hard to manage and be trained to become a 2-year good helper.  I have been stretching my neck really long but still, MOM is not doing hard enough to find better source country.  Thought experience Cambodia FDWs will ease my headache (if I need to employ a new FDW) but turned out under-supply ... in not-ready-mode!  

Here is a statement posted on the Philippines Department of Labour and Employment website:

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Singapore headed by Labor Attache Vicente Cabe has suspended its accreditation of a foreign placement agency (FPA) suspected of having been engaged in the so-called 'discount on maids' marketing strategy.

"Following my directive to verify a report that foreign domestic workers, including Filipino household service workers, are being put in display and made available for "purchase" at "discounted prices" in some shopping malls in Singapore, Labor Attache Cabe has reported that the POLO has suspended its accreditation of Homekeeper Agency, one of two agencies alleged to be involved in the practice," said Baldoz.

Citing the POLO report, she said the POLO had invited the manager of Homekeeper Agency to answer the allegation of treating their foreign household service workers like "commodities" and instructed them to bring to the Philippine Embassy the Filipino HSWs under their care for interview.  "The other agency, Budget Maid Agency, which is not accredited with POLO-Singapore, as well as the other agencies doing the same practice, had been referred to the Singapore Ministry of Manpower," Baldoz added.

In his report, Cabe said MOM officials had assured the Philippine Embassy and the POLO that they will look into the matter and provide feedback at the soonest. Meanwhile, Baldoz bared that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), headed by Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, has identified the four POEA-licensed agencies in the Philippines which has the Homekeeper Agency as their principals.

The POEA will base its subsequent action on their explanation," Baldoz elaborated. Further on the Secretary's instruction, Labor Attache Cabe also reported that the POLO was able to effect a settlement and obtain a refund of the money claims of two of the five Filipino household service workers who were present during the POLO's investigation during its inspection of the Bukit Timah Shopping Centre over the weekend.

One of the two, Louvette Seguerra, is from Davao City. She arrived in Singapore on 2013 November and had worked for two employers. Homekeeper Agency settled her claim of S$1,676 prior to her repatriation yesterday.

The other Filipino HSW, Gina Limpag arrived in Singapore last March and had worked for two employers. Homekeeper Agency refunded her plane fare and placement fee of S$724 (P25,338) before she was repatriated also yesterday, July 1.

The three other Filipino HSWs are Mary Grace Cansejo, Armie Ponce, and Lilia Patrocinio. The POLO is still working on their cases. The other day, Baldoz had directed the POLO and the POEA to coordinate their efforts in laying down stricter measures to protect Filipino domestic workers from practices that degrades human dignity, such as the so-called 'discount on maids' marketing strategy practiced by FPAs in Singapore.

The Akbayan party-list group has denounced what it called a "modern-day slave auction" in Singapore in which maids, including Filipinos, are displayed and marketed at a shopping mall in the city state.  The group Tuesday called on the Singapore government to crack down on the "display and marketing of migrant workers" at the Bukit Timah Shopping Center.

The practice is dehumanizing and degrading for migrant workers who are being treated like "ordinary commodities," said Walden Bello, the Akbayan member in the House of Representatives.  Citing a report by the Al Jazeera TV network, Akbayan said migrants from the Philippines, Indonesia and Burma (Myanmar) working in "maid agencies" were being made to sit beneath signs identifying them as "Homekeeper" or "Budget Maid."

Prospective employers may choose from "super-promo" and "special discount rates," in which Filipinos are tagged as "smarter," Indonesians as "less bright," and Burmese workers as "sweet-natured and compliant."  "The workers are also made to simulate real-life housework, like taking care of the elderly or children," the group said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday called for an investigation into the Al Jazeera report.

Akbayan has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to demand that the Singapore government immediately put an end to the practice and hold those behind it accountable. "We should express our extreme disappointment, if not our anger, to the Singaporean government, that this can happen right under their noses and in full view of the public," Bello said.

"The fact that this was done as if it were a legitimate enterprise should be of grave concern not only to us but to the Singaporean government," he added.  Bello also urged the DFA to enforce stricter regulations to ensure that Filipinos are not victimized by human traffickers.  He is concerned that Filipinos subjected to such modern-day slave auctions are the same ones victimized by illegal recruiters and do not have labour contracts.

"At our end, we can tighten the avenues by which these traffickers transport our migrant workers out of the country and into these slave auctions. This will need stronger coordination between the DFA and our law-enforcement agencies and the Bureau of Immigration," Bello said.

"Our officials must be vigilant and look into seemingly benign activities because it may in fact be human trafficking in the guise of tourism," he said.  An estimated 170,000 Filipinos live and work in Singapore.

It is better to drop Philippines as a source country if MOM cares about citizens.  Philippines has been taking the lead to make unreasonable demands.  How could human traffickers exist in a country known as Spore?  Is Spore well known as a corrupted, chaotic and country with poor management? There are strict laws for citizens to abide.   Any way, just another show time for PAP/MOM to show how much they adore foreigners, especially FDWs.... at unfortunate citizens' expense.  

Spore ought to shiver in fear because PAP/MOM enjoys telling the 'whole world', we cannot survive without foreigners, Spore may collapse without these strong foreign pillars, Spore cannot afford to lose 'good friends'.... MOM better comply with all the source countries' demand and do as much damages to Employers/Citizens ... correct?  Correct me if I'm wrong ... I hope I'm in the wrong, means there's still hope to have a caring govt and not always bending down to please others.  It is good to be gracious and accommodating but to such extend?  Yes we are a tiny country but please don't offer your face to be slapped by others.  If source country is deliberately making a fuss, being demanding, resort to threats, claimed salary & employment terms are lousy, please tell them to tie their citizens, don't allow any of them to be employed overseas.  好货色 自己留 别飞过来 嫌东嫌西 把自己弄成被迫。 你们没有脑残 何必飞过来 '受苦'.

PAP, please make our lives easier, give us higher salary, lower the living standard, provide cheaper HDB housing and medical so that citizens just need one income and can fire FDWs .... women stay home to be good mothers ... simple logic yet PAP/MOM avoiding!   Don't you feel frustrated and that we are being manipulated and taken advantage?  I wish all these reports/acts of MOM & PAP are untrue but what I see, tell me to stop living in illusion. 不要自欺欺人 向鸵鸟. 

In Spore, if a Filipino FDW did something wrong eg taking things that doesn't belong to her, the sentence given was very light.  Read this: Facebook maid-thief ($6300 thief) Evelyn Macaraya Clotario vs a Malaysian Ansar ($2 thief) and a 39 year man ($10 thief).  Others get punished severely but FDWs are not.  MOM is showing double standard and its 'undying love' cum biased.  By giving light sentences or letting FDWs go scot-free, it is not a deterrent, it is encouraging FDWs to be bad and sending signals to source country such as Philippines to demand more, make our lives more miserable ... because most of the time, MOM is making citizens give in, absorb the damages and inconveniences!

Winter:  Filipino FDWs, the more preferred nationalities for expatriates and employers who prefer a person who can communicate in basic English.  Filipino were chosen not because they have better skills, good heart, hard working, co-operative or better working attitude.  Personally, Filipino FDWs have the worst attitude and tend to complain much more than others, basically due to the fact they know English ... thus, putting them higher on the table and heads looking upwards.  Filipino FDWs are rated to be proud, egoistic, full of of pride which lead to lots of demands/expectations from their job/employers.  They certainly don't fall into the category of an easy to manage employee.  

Why did I stick to Filipino FDWs since I 'didn't like' them, cost more and they are not of better quality?
I chose Filipino FDWs because of English.  I need a helper whom I can communicate in English instead of sign language/gestures.  

Training my Indonesian maid part 1  (English barrier)
Training my Indonesian maid part 2
so many Bruises on my girl
Maid 女佣 made mistakes but denied
Maid's negligence
Maid deliberately switched off her senses
Training an experienced domestic maid (No English barrier but purposely forget and poor attitude)
My 4th filipino FDW (JA)

I need a street smart person who can handle my child by taking her to special school and learn from teachers... understand what the teachers are saying then do the tasks at home.  There are plenty of Indonesian or Myanmar helpers in the special school.  Employers chose them because some could speak Bahasa/Malay or some employers are stay-home moms or have other family member to guide/supervise the maid.... the maid is not alone to handle the child.  I know I can't manage a Filipino maid nor be 'harsh' so I nowadays, I'm almost 2 eyes closed.  Just don't let me see my child hurt or can't wait to get away from you ... red alert!  My child can't complain but I can read her body language, constant crying when FDW touches her and see marks/bruises on her body.  I may appear 'stupid' or easy to be manipulated by maid (in FDW's eyes) but my mother's instinct is still there, I still love my child and will not allow her to be ill-treated by a person I've employed to care for her well-being.

I believe that many of the readers understand your plight and the issue of protection against employers has been lobbying around administration of government without any result for many years.

There are many underlining problem pertaining to this issue that your local agencies just can’t put to words and government agencies unwilling or simply refuses to address them. Hence allow me to explain to you and all the other reader the hindrance that government of employing countries that they face, which includes our Singapore government.

1.       Philippines Double Standard
Maids from Philippines to overseas are deployed under their Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). Which means the employer must pay a minimum wages of USD$400 per month with a day off each week. With the success of these deployments to Hong Kong (Maid), Taiwan (Maid) and Japan (Prostitutes), the Philippine government had been aggressively marketing this concept to all other countries and in many ways forcing them with an ultimatum. The POEA was market under the cover of human right protection to the workers and they promote those few countries as a showcase as an example for other countries to follow. However, they conveniently forgot to inform all the countries they pushing to implement the POEA, is that these workers going to these “prime” countries will have to pay for all expenses. All expenses includes air-ticket, medical examination, training, agency fee in the Philippines, government administration fees, tax, interest and commission for the agencies from the employer’s country.  Hence, employers are not required to pay anything to get the workers. Hong Kong would cost the workers about $3,000, Taiwan would cost them about RM3,550 and Japan a whopping $7,400.

Philippines had been playing double standard towards all other countries and lying to all the government they push, with a face palm. Which means the cost of deployment would be force solely on to employers. While the workers still would have to pay something but not pay such a hefty sum. This is also the main reason why Singapore government refuses to co-cooperate on the POEA and they find it extremely unfair toward Singaporean and employer of this double standard. In fact, majority of the countries do not support POEA, many countries would advise the worker to travel to their country under social visit so these workers do not have to pay bondage.

2.       Indonesia
Majority of the cost of deployment is not the cost of maid but the cost of acquiring such bio-data. The system in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia is somewhat the same, since these market were all established by Malaysian and Singaporean agencies for their countrymen.

Each local agency in Indonesia will pay a middle man that is task for a selected region. The middle-man would than task it to individual that would travel, kampong to kampong. Once these maids are collected, the main hub agency would then throw in a $500 cash given to the maid’s family and another $1,500 per maid as their profit.

As you can see, the cost of deployment is mainly due to the cost of agencies in their country. These countries enjoy their GDP with the deployment of these maids. Without a proper tax system, this is the only viable way their country can make money from their citizens. So how to protect workers when the maid was not the actual individual that results in such cost, it is all the middle-man and agencies that are owned by cronies are making the kill.

We must not forget that local agencies in Singapore face one bigger problems when comes to acquire maids. Many overseas agencies are indebted financially to local agencies. It is expected that sooner or later these debt will be written off. So local agencies would have to put that “future debt” in to consideration which means increase cost for employer. Understand there is no legal avenue that provides assurance to local agency being able to collect such debt. This is part of the problem, part of the cost and agencies perform as middle-man, they would not be place in a position to bare all risk. Local agency earn about mere $800 per maid. They will also have to bare cost of return maid whom is unfit or fail the Singapore test.

So the answer to your question whether the government or authorities can do anything to protect employers, well………there is nothing. My only suggestion is to employ local Care-Taker or nurse, if looking after your disable father is the main reasons because if you would average the cost out, it might be even cheaper in the long run. Many employers had that pre-text but they actually need the maid more for housework, cooking and other stuff, that is why they feel they can’t employ nurse or caretaker.

Posted by Eugene Lim
Copied above from here

Impact of moratorium on sending Filipino maids to S’pore ‘minimal’, TODAY, 21 Sep 2013
Despite an industry-led moratorium on the deployment of domestic workers from the Philippines to Singapore that took effect this month, employment agencies here said they have not been greatly affected, although the waiting time for a Filipino maid is longer.   This is because recruitment agencies in the Philippines that are not participating in the moratorium — aimed at cracking down on the practice of imposing placement fees on Filipino maids — continue to send maids here, said agencies here.

Five local employment agencies TODAY spoke to said the waiting time for a maid from the Philippines is now two months, compared to four to five weeks previously, but the moratorium’s impact was otherwise minimal. The agencies declined to be named.

In July, the Association of Licensed Recruitment Agencies for Singapore announced that it was staging a moratorium on the deployment of maids to Singapore until more employment agencies here stop deducting placement fees from maids’ salaries when they begin work here.   Such fees can run as high as S$2,400. The association wants employers to bear the cost instead.

Ms Lucita Sermonia, President of the association, said in a press release that the temporary halt in deployment will be “lifted as soon as 60 per cent of the Singapore employment agencies have accepted the new terms of hiring”.  The 120-strong association represents a relatively small portion of the over 1,000 recruitment agencies in the Philippines, but its member agencies make up most of the agencies that recruits Filipinos for domestic work in Singapore.

Nonetheless, as the moratorium only applies to the association’s member agencies, other agencies can continue to supply workers, said Ms K Jayaprema, President of the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS).  Mr Vicente Cabe, Labour Attache at the Philippines embassy in Singapore, acknowledged: “The association’s move is a private decision made by its member agencies, the Philippines is a free democratic society, the government cannot stop them.”

And even with laws against imposing placement fees on workers in the Philippines, as well as laws in Singapore limiting deductions from a worker’s salary, some agencies continue to charge maids, he pointed out.

For example in Singapore, some agencies deduct maids’ salaries for six to eight months, even though Singapore laws only allow a maximum of one month of salary deductions per year of contract, for a two-year contract.   Still, by requiring employers to bear the full placement fees, Filipino maids may end up being “priced out of the market” in the long run, they said.

A representative from one agency pointed out that some workers have contacted her from the Philippines asking her to help them come to Singapore as they are desperate for work, but her hands are tied.   Added a staff member from another agency: “(The industry)’s very disorderly — in the end, the maids are still the milk cows.”

Ms Jayaprema, however, was optimistic. “Everybody’s moving forward — most local agencies are mindful of the policy and many have started to collect the placement fees from employers,” she said.  Ms Bridget Tan, President of Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), a non-profit organisation providing assistance to migrant workers in Singapore, said the latest round of efforts is different in that it is the first major move by market players — not the government — to push for enforcement.

The moratorium is a “sneak preview to what is to come” — an inevitable change in industry practices to better support migrant rights — and at the very heart of the issue is the need for employers to recognise domestic workers as equals to any other working individual, she said.

Employers must learn how to manage their relationships with maids in the same way all employers manage employees, she added.   The Philippine Embassy in Singapore has stopped accepting new applications for employment agency accreditation since June, as part of efforts to enforce its regulations protecting maids.   The Philippines Overseas Employment Administration, which processes migrant applications and accredits Singaporean employment agencies, has some 200 accredited Singapore agencies on its records, but just half are active. Fewer than 10 agencies have lost their accreditation this year so far.

As the cost of hiring a Filipino maid rises, some agencies have seen a rise in demand for maids from other countries such as Indonesia and Myanmar. Others say “transfer maids” — those already working in Singapore but are looking for a change of employers — now make up a bigger part of their business, with lower costs and less hassle involved.

One agency said: “The industry has always learnt to cope with these problems, what else can we do but tighten our belts.”

Time to go home?  Philippines has good job offers waiting for them?

The economic figures paint a rosy picture for the Philippines. The country is rated as the best performer in the region by various financial analysts. Filipinos swell with pride as they hear their leaders talk about how the Philippines is no longer the sick man of Asia, but the country with the best growth prospects.
So, should home-sick Filipinos be rushing back home, where a job in the Philippines can mean for many, a reunion with families and the comforts of a familiar environment?

Former President Fidel Ramos, who was in Singapore recently, is more down-to-earth.  The truth, he told Filipino community leaders at a talk at the Philippine Ambassador’s residence, is that while GDP growth in the Philippines has been remarkable, this has not translated into a increase in per capita income.

In other words, the average Filipino has not benefitted—his income has not gone up and in fact, the gap between the top earners and the average earners has widened.  Ramos cited the example of how countries in the region managed to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI). The Philippines managed to attract FDI amounting to only US$2 billion.

Singapore, on the other hand, was a star performer—foreign multinational corporations were confidently investing close to US$30 billion in the republic, said Ramos.  Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia were also doing better than the Philippines in attracting FDI.

So, his advice to the 200,000-strong Filipino community in Singapore: better to stay put in Singapore which is the place to be, at the moment.

He said: “Yes, you are needed back home, but the action is in Singapore. The income is here. Save your earnings, and when you put aside enough of a nest-egg to invest in a sustainable business in the Philippines, that would be the time to think about heading back to the Philippines.”

The OFWs – the heroes of the Philippines – are actually keeping the consumer-driven economy of the Philippines afloat with their hard-earned money which they faithfully remit home.

Ramos also stressed on the need for Filipinos to improve their use of English. For example, the call-centre business was a most lucrative enterprise, providing thousands of well-paying jobs to qualified Filipinos.

Yet, only two out of 10 Filipinos who applied, were found unsuitable for the job by the international call centres. This was because while many of the eight Filipinos could speak English, they were deemed not able to express themselves well enough to be understood by the rest of the English-speaking world.

Now somebody from Philippines is pointing out Filipinos' English is bad.
One simple example, every woman is called 'Mum', instead of Maam (British or American pronounciation) or Madam.  You enjoy become Filipino's mother?  I don't want to be reminded MOM has given me a grown up woman to be treated  like 'daughter'.  Ensure she's well and safe, living life better than me!

We are using English not Tagalog-English so don't call me Mum!  Because Filipinos are too prideful, they felt it is correct to make every woman become their mothers, especially FDWs so they insist on calling every woman 'Mum' for so many years.  Despite correction, I still have a stubborn FDW who insist on calling me 'Mum'.

Be it call centre service personnel, waiter, waitress, your co-worker, counter staff or promoter, we're 'Mums'.  I happened to visit one hotel for dinner recently.  The Chinese nationality waitress was under a Filipino supervisor so she addressed me as 'Mum'.  超级刺耳的称呼
Just like in the market, the fishmonger or stall owner is older than me but addressed me as 'Aunty'.  冒火, spoil my day. 

Am I suppose to call you Ah peh or Ah po?  Some people said it is basic courtesy to address but using 'aunty' and causing a person to have bad mood ... correct?
Not long again, I went to one of the Hypermart, there's a lady who wanted to weigh her fruits but the staff addressed her as 'Aunty'.  "I'm not married, how can you call me aunty".  This unwed lady was extremely angry.  I heard the staff grumbled behind her back "she looked older than her, address aunty cannot meh"

It is extremely unfair to make employers absorb the cost of FDW's placement fees. If maid wants a job in Spore, she should pay, otherwise, don't come! There's no such thing as Free Lunch! By making Employers foot their costs, it is encouraging Filipinos to job hop, show no job committment, come to Spore as princesses and give us more problems, can anytime say bye-bye because there's nothing .... no loan to tie them down.

If maids want to save money, eliminate middlemen and maid agencies, as well as getting source govt to be involved .... they just want to load their pockets with money from the easiest targets .... Spore employers because we don't have a caring govt, our MOM is very pro-maid and pro-agency.

Filipinos will be jumping with joy because MOM will endorse this by KEEPING QUIET. The existing MOM policies are so unfair yet MOM didn't stop thinking of implementating more. Source countries are so demanding but MOM just sit back and watch us suffer.

If Philippines is determined to squeeze more money from FDW's Employers and make us look like idiots or ATM machines, I hope those prideful Filipino FDWs can forget about working in Spore legally or best part .... totally vacant this little red dot.

Go to other places that you claimed you're wanted at a higher salary .... GO, nobody stopping you and keeping you in a place that you assumed didn't treat you well. Otherwise, stay in your own country since your Phil govt so caring and know how to help you save money.  The money we are paying is low, not enough to 塞牙缝.

If Phil govt thought Sporeans have pockets full of cash to employ your citizens, I am sure you'll discover we are not rich, most salaried Employers employed maids due to necessity. Since it is a necessity, we wouldn't want to pay more and take in more risks.

Employers who have other choices, will go for other nationalities eg Cambodian or opt for subsidized childcare centres. The chances of fresh Filipinos running away or ask for transfer will be higher because they only need to pay one to two months as transfer fee, no more hefy loan weighing on them .... it became employers' financial burden!

Employers have absolutely no protection nor any guarantee that FDWs will commit herself to work if paid so much. You dare employ Filipinos? Ask those people taking about human rights and rich to hire you.... that means the Filipinos in Spore will reduce very soon.... good news... looking forward to see stubborn Filipinos FDWs, thought so highly about themselves and don't behave like sensible FDWs O-U-T of Spore!

Now already so hard to get a Filipino who can deliver her duties as per our requirements, with such crazy source country's term, it will only make fresh Filipinos undesirable. Who wants to employ a maid and constantly worry when she'll fire her employer, make her pocket bleed? How come Phil or Indo don't get the meaning of Sporeans are not all wealthy people .... there're no gold mines waiting for them to dig?

Read: cost to hire a maid

Manila to stop giving new licences to Singapore maid agencies, Straits Times, 19 Jun
Singapore maid agencies are being barred from taking out new licences to source for workers in the Philippines in a move by Manila to crack down on firms flouting its rules.

The country's embassy will limit the number of licensed companies to the current pool of about 100 and new applications will be rejected. Philippine labour attache Vicente Cabe confirmed that the new policy came into effect on June 1 and is the next phase of efforts by the embassy to enforce its rules.

The Philippine government wants employers to bear domestic workers' placement fees, which cost S$2,000 (US$1,600) on average, or four months' salary.  It wants to prevent maids from having to pay for this. Currently, employers pay agencies S$400 to S$600 to hire a Filipino maid, but the requirements will see this rising to between S$2,400 and S$2,600.

Cabe said Singapore maid agencies are still breaking the rules by charging the workers placement fees, even though he has blacklisted about 10 of them in recent months. These firms have been stopped from bringing in domestic workers temporarily.

"By limiting the number of licensed agencies, I will be able to monitor them more closely and get them to follow the rules," he added.
Cabe said another reason for the new policy is that some of the blacklisted agencies are getting around the rules by setting up new firms and applying for new licences. "With new licences, they will be able to recruit the workers anyway. This defeats the purpose of the suspension."

The embassy stepped up enforcement of the rules last year, although they were introduced more than a decade ago.
Maid agencies that spoke to The Straits Times anonymously for fear of backlash from the embassy said the new policy may actually force more players to break the rules instead of getting them to go by the book.

One agent said: "The new policy will not stop new players from entering the market. Instead, they will just recruit workers illegally in the Philippines without a licence."
The agencies foresee that new players will bring in Filipino maids as tourists and the women will end up worse off as their rights will not be protected.

The maids comply with Singapore laws as they are working here legally with the work permits that their agents help them to apply for after they arrive.
But the women will not be registered by the Philippine government as overseas workers - meaning they are not entitled to the employment terms set by Manila, such as being charged no placement fees, having four days off a month and a monthly salary of at least S$500. The Straits Times reported in April that some maid agencies are already bringing in Filipino maids as tourists.

They offer bribes of about S$1,200 to immigration officers and airline ticketing staff to allow the women to leave the Philippines with "no questions asked".
Cabe said airport immigration officers in the Philippines have been told to be vigilant in their checks and will not accept the bribes.

Bridget Tan, chief executive of foreign workers' group the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), agreed that it is difficult for agents to bring in domestic workers illegally as Manila has cracked down on corrupt immigration officers and Singapore agents can be charged with trafficking in the Philippines.

26 Aug
Philippines has made announcement to stop its citizens from flying out to work as maids. Indonesian also wants to do the same thing. So what must we do? Continue rely on them? Allow them to mark up, increase wages but work quality remain at record low? Singaporeans enjoy being or waiting to be slaughtered?

MOM wants to keep things this way, allows source countries and agencies to make the calls .... do whatsoever ways that can make needy employers' lives miserable? Otherwise, force mothers to stay home and be homemakers, indirectly welcoming more foreigners to fill the juicy positions, press our salary further down but increased our living costs?

Typhoon Haiyan: 'This is God's punishment'... Rebuilding lives amid the ruins of the Philippines
A week after Typhoon Haiyan roared through the eastern Philippines, the city of Tacloban is still struggling to cope with the devastation wrought by perhaps the most powerful ever storm of its kind. At its peak, the typhoon’s winds were as strong as 200mph.
Local people said Tacloban was perhaps 95 per cent Roman Catholic, with just a small number of Muslims. Many people struggling in the aftermath said they believed the mighty storm had been an act of God.

“Oh, there is a God. He saved us,” said 75-year-old Soledad Majos, a mother of nine children, who had spent the last five days in a church that had been transformed into an emergency shelter.
Why, then, send such a devastating storm? “Because there are so many bad people. This is his punishment.”

The Philippines is disaster-prone. Filipinos are stoic about their fate, given the periodic earthquakes and typhoons. However, disasters are never entirely an "act of God", as insurers put it, or "natural". The scale of fatalities and destruction rests on other factors such as political will at the national level, local capacities, infrastructure and protocols. For a country of 7,000-plus islands, highly dense urban populations, remote rural hamlets and mountainous regions, topography is also a significant factor. All these things explain in part why national and local governments have been recently overwhelmed – the disaster after the disaster.

The international community has been heart-piercing in its magnanimous support. Yet how far will they go in terms of shielding the Philippines and other vulnerable nations from routine cataclysm?

Philippines can conveniently stretch hands for free money?
My colleague asked me whether I've made any donation, I said no, why should I? As a FDW's employer, facing a source country that is nasty and its citizens (FDWs) so proud, problematic, pampered and asking for princess entitlement, why should I be nice to this country? What makes Philippines think Sporeans are rich and can be kind to a country who hasn't been very nice?

Those people who had their homes destroyed maybe innocent and really poor thing but what Philippines govt did to me as a FDW's employer and others - stealing or jeopardising others' rice bowling (as foreign talents, managers or co-workers). One word to describe "Retribution".

You reap what you sow. Be bad to others, taking others' kindness for granted ... you get retribution!
Philippines planned to stop its citizens from coming to work as FDWs... go ahead.  We don't need your prideful and expensive citizens as FDWs.  I'm not keen to absorb FDW' local agency and Spore agent fee... totally no maid loan, nothing to tie her, no policies to ensure Filipinos will be more hardworking, appreciative and trainable.

Keep your citizens at home to rebuild what has been destroyed.  Use your own funds and stop relying on others for money.

If you think people like me and below are evil, I suppose you've not been hit by the 'Filipino tidal wave in Spore'.
You are not in the wrong to be a philanthropist/samaritan but you cannot make others, especially those who have suffered or affected by the Filipinos in Spore to forget and forgive.  Prideful Filipinos don't seem to be appreciative and grateful.  
As Managers and Supervisors, holding degrees .... I guess you've 'valid reason' to step on people lower than you but as FDW (maid), less educated, how can she step or bully me?  Is this the way Filipinos are brought up to be? I cannot forget what I'm going thru especially I have one not too fantastic domestic helper living with me... this is on-going.  How I wish Filipino maids who are working for me are not prideful, be humble, responsible, trainable and honest.

Anyway, there are plenty of Sporeans who have hearts filled with gold, extremely charitable to foreigners so just a few of us who are giving unfriendly remarks or 落井下石 rubbing salt to the wound is no big deal. 

If you see this post, I don't think you need to make a big fuss. 

Filipinos abroad who have spent harrowing days trying to contact loved ones after a typhoon devastated their homeland are mobilising to send relief, despite misgivings about corrupt local officials pocketing aid on the ground.

And from Asian capitals to the United States and Europe, Filipino communities are taking to churches and social media sites to raise funds for communities left with nothing - and growing increasingly desperate.  In Hong Kong, where some 150,000 Filipinos work as domestic helpers, the Red Cross said a hotline set up to trace the missing had been overwhelmed since the typhoon smashed into the nation's central islands, displacing an estimated 673,000.
"The maids were crying. They didn't know what to do," spokeswoman Denise Wong told AFP.

Liezel Miralles, a 40-year-old domestic worker from Batad, a coastal town of 20,000 people, had not been able to contact her husband and other relatives to find out if they had survived.  "I feel very, very, very sad, my whole family is there," Miralles said as she bought groceries for her employer at a street-side market. "There is no house, no phone, no connection."

On Sunday, when Hong Kong's downtown throngs with domestic helpers congregating on their day off, worker groups will hold an "information drive" on the crisis and gather donations.  But support group United Filipinos is one of many organisations and individuals around the world planning to direct aid only to non-government agencies.
"We are afraid that if we send to the government, it will just to go their pockets and will not reach the beneficiaries," secretary general Eman Villanueva told AFP.  "Politicians are using it for their own benefit even in the midst of this devastating situation. They are still thinking for themselves."

In Singapore, Filipina expatriate Dimples Larrazabal said the 24 hours it took for her to get in touch with her mother, her brother and his family in the town of Ormoc in devastated Leyte province seemed like an eternity.  "At first I was half-positive (that things would be OK) because our house is a good structure," said Larrazabal, a 35-year-old home-maker. But she began to panic after seeing photos showing the unimaginable devastation.

Although many toil for low wages as construction workers, maids, sailors and janitors, they are collectively a major economic force and last year sent home $21.4 billion, almost 9 per cent of the nation's economic output.
"Support from our kababayans (countrymen) abroad is overwhelming. Despite their dire circumstances, they are more than willing and ready to pitch in," said Garry Martinez, the chairman of Migrante International, a group supporting overseas Filipinos.  "The bigger tragedy is if corrupt officials in government exploit this calamity to further plunder and steal funds meant for victims and survivors, Martinez said.

Widespread abuses and personal enrichment by government officials followed previous disasters including Typhoon Bopha in December 2012, said Nicole Dumaguindin from US umbrella group, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.  "The government is slow to distribute public funds and relief goods, making the devastation worse," she said adding that expat Filipinos would still give, but do so more carefully.  "Until the weak, vulnerable infrastructure in the Philippines changes, corruption will always be a problem," Dumaguindin said. "People living abroad are now more vigilant of the Philippine government's track record."

Some Filipinos expressed their worries.  Will the cash donation be given to the right people or being pocketed?  Corruption, is this the first time you heard?
No matter what, these donations are not from Philippines-Filipinos.  Nobody forced you or any country to donate so if the money or supplies were misused, you can't have the funds or supplies back. 

We are afraid that if we send to the government, it will just to go their pockets and will not reach the beneficiaries,” secretary general Eman Villanueva told AFP.
Filipina expatriate Dimples Larrazabal said "Politicians are using it for their own benefit even in the midst of this devastating situation.

Generous donors:

Widespread abuses and personal enrichment by government officials followed previous disasters including Typhoon Bopha in December 2012, said Nicole Dumaguindin from US umbrella group, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. 

“Until the weak, vulnerable infrastructure in the Philippines changes, corruption will always be a problem,” Dumaguindin said. “People living abroad are now more vigilant of the Philippine government’s track record.

"I'm not going to mince words," said Mel Fernandez, the editorial adviser for the Filipino Migrant News. "We would like every cent to reach those poor people there rather than getting waylaid."
Corruption is a concern after any major natural disaster, as millions of dollars in cash and goods rush in from around the world. But those worries are especially acute in the Philippines, where graft has been a part of life for decades.

More than $270 million in foreign aid has been donated to help the victims of the Nov. 8 typhoon, which killed at least 3,976 people and left nearly 1,600 missing, according to government figures updated Monday. More than 4 million people have been displaced and need food, shelter and water. The typhoon also wrecked livelihoods on a massive scale, destroying crops, livestock, coconut plantations and fishing boats.

Much of the assistance in the early phase of a disaster response is in the form of food, water and other supplies. Far richer opportunities for graft occur later when rebuilding occurs and contracts are up for grabs.

But corruption probably has already made this typhoon worse. Money for roads was diverted, giving people less ability to evacuate. Hospitals didn't get the resources they should have. Some houses might not have been flattened if they had been built to code.
"Petty corruption in urban areas means that building inspections don't happen and building codes are not enforced," said Steven Rood, the Manila-based representative of The Asia Foundation, a non-profit development organization. "Even middle-class homes are not built to withstand a typhoon, much less poor homes."

Filipinos working abroad and sending money home to their families are an important source of cash in the country under any circumstances, but Fernandez, the New Zealand editorial adviser, expects that they will be skeptical about giving money to the government. He said he thinks they will simply donate to nongovernmental agencies providing aid to typhoon victims, but Rood wasn't certain even of that.  "There's a lot of cynicism, particularly in the expat community," Rood said. "People are put off. You see it in the social networks.

People are saying there's no point -- if they give money, it will just get stolen."
The typhoon has come at a time when some feel the Philippines might finally be cracking down on corruption. In its latest global corruption report, Transparency International found the Philippines was just one of 11 countries in which people said they were noticing an improvement in corruption levels.

Rood said he believes Philippine government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development are less corrupt than they once were and can be relied on to take the lead after disasters like the typhoon.

Garry Martinez, the chairman of Migrante International, a group supporting overseas Filipinos: “The bigger tragedy is if corrupt officials in government exploit this calamity to further plunder and steal funds meant for victims and survivors.

Local maid agencies turn to Myanmar, Cambodia after Philippines ban, Channel News Asia, 16 Oct
Maid recruitment agencies in Singapore have started turning to new sources of domestic workers like Myanmar and Cambodia. This follows the decision of the Manila-based Association of Licensed Recruitment Agencies to Singapore (ALRAS) to stop deploying Filipino domestic workers to Singapore from September 2 this year.

Maid agencies in Singapore said the Philippine authorities expect employers and not the maids to fork out the placement fees. The placement fees are for the processing of documents needed before the domestic worker can be sent to Singapore. But the agencies said not all employers are willing to pay the fees, resulting in a shortage of maids from the Philippines. They said Filipino maids may also complain to their authorities if the fees were deducted from their salary. This has resulted in more maids from Myanmar and Cambodia arriving in Singapore after undergoing training at home.

Maids from Myanmar started coming to Singapore two years ago. In terms of countries with the most maids in Singapore, Myanmar is in third place, behind Indonesia and the Philippines. Winnie Wang from Advance Link International Pte Ltd, said: "Myanmar maids -- you can say they are a group of people who are very decent. They are not much influenced by the social media, (with) less using handphones, Facebook, Youtube -- they just work, they are very hardworking. “Their English still need to be polished, we have to train them overseas first before they can come in and adapt to Singapore life.”

If Philippines is determined to squeeze more money from FDW's Employers and make us look like idiots or ATM machines, I hope those prideful Filipino FDWs can forget about working in Spore legally or best part .... totally vacant this little red dot. I hope this ban means BAN and not another evil plan to make Spore employers pay more for its citizen coming to fleece employers, not in a right mind to work as FDW, willingly be trained and become our good helper. MOM/PAP has to stop pampering maids and the source countries. We are not ATM machines nor idiots! I am very excited to see Filipinos vacant Spore. FDWs, go to other places that you claimed you're wanted at a higher salary and can treat you better than Spore as an inexperience new maid. GO, nobody stopping you and keeping you in a place that you assumed didn't treat you well. Otherwise, stay in your own country since your Phil govt is so caring and know how to help you save money - in the form of making us absorb your placement fee.

Philippines has to learn the hard way - Sporeans haven't got pockets full of cash to employ your citizens. We are not rich, most salaried Employers employed maids due to necessity. Since it is a necessity, we wouldn't want to pay more and take in more risks. Employers who have other choices, will go for other nationalities eg Cambodian or opt for subsidized childcare centres. By making employers absorb full recruitment fee (maid loan), the chances of Filipino FDWs running away or ask for transfer will be much higher because no more hefy loan weighing on them .... it becomes employers' nightmare to employ you! You don't need to pay a single cent, what makes you think you're the best helper and deserves such treatment? In Spore, we are forced to pay your debts/loan on your behalf, as a lump sum to your agency (thus, we ended up being held to ransom) and then deduct based on your monthly work. Filipino who wants to work in Hong Kong or Taiwan, has to pay loan by instalment. I don't understand why Phil govt think we owe you a decent life!

Spore Employers have absolutely no protection nor any guarantee that FDWs will commit herself to work if we agree to pay so much that is, S$3000 non-recoverable. If you're an employer, you dare employ Filipinos who are so demanding yet unable to deliver a proper domestic job - complete 2 year contract? I am looking forward to see stubborn Filipinos FDWs who thought so highly about themselves and don't behave like sensible FDWs to be O-U-T of Spore!

Make Phil or Indo get the meaning of Sporeans are not all wealthy people .... there're no gold mines waiting for them to dig!

Read: cost to hire a maid

Manila to stop giving new licences to Singapore maid agencies, Straits Times, 19 Jun
Singapore maid agencies are being barred from taking out new licences to source for workers in the Philippines in a move by Manila to crack down on firms flouting its rules.

The country's embassy will limit the number of licensed companies to the current pool of about 100 and new applications will be rejected.  Philippine labour attache Vicente Cabe confirmed that the new policy came into effect on June 1 and is the next phase of efforts by the embassy to enforce its rules.

The Philippine government wants employers to bear domestic workers' placement fees, which cost S$2,000 (US$1,600) on average, or four months' salary.

It wants to prevent maids from having to pay for this. Currently, employers pay agencies S$400 to S$600 to hire a Filipino maid, but the requirements will see this rising to between S$2,400 and S$2,600.

Cabe said Singapore maid agencies are still breaking the rules by charging the workers placement fees, even though he has blacklisted about 10 of them in recent months. These firms have been stopped from bringing in domestic workers temporarily.

"By limiting the number of licensed agencies, I will be able to monitor them more closely and get them to follow the rules," he added.

Cabe said another reason for the new policy is that some of the blacklisted agencies are getting around the rules by setting up new firms and applying for new licences. "With new licences, they will be able to recruit the workers anyway. This defeats the purpose of the suspension."

The embassy stepped up enforcement of the rules last year, although they were introduced more than a decade ago.

Maid agencies that spoke to The Straits Times anonymously for fear of backlash from the embassy said the new policy may actually force more players to break the rules instead of getting them to go by the book.

One agent said: "The new policy will not stop new players from entering the market. Instead, they will just recruit workers illegally in the Philippines without a licence."

The agencies foresee that new players will bring in Filipino maids as tourists and the women will end up worse off as their rights will not be protected.

The maids comply with Singapore laws as they are working here legally with the work permits that their agents help them to apply for after they arrive.

But the women will not be registered by the Philippine government as overseas workers - meaning they are not entitled to the employment terms set by Manila, such as being charged no placement fees, having four days off a month and a monthly salary of at least S$500. The Straits Times reported in April that some maid agencies are already bringing in Filipino maids as tourists.

They offer bribes of about S$1,200 to immigration officers and airline ticketing staff to allow the women to leave the Philippines with "no questions asked".

Cabe said airport immigration officers in the Philippines have been told to be vigilant in their checks and will not accept the bribes.

Bridget Tan, chief executive of foreign workers' group the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), agreed that it is difficult for agents to bring in domestic workers illegally as Manila has cracked down on corrupt immigration officers and Singapore agents can be charged with trafficking in the Philippines.