According to the 2019 Survey on Overseas Filipinos, 2.2 million Filipinos worked overseas between the period of April to September.
Many worked as nurses, hospitality staff, nannies and cleaners, remitting a record-high $33.5 billion, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Migrant workers were often deployed to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The International Labour Organization said that some 400,000 domestic workers in Hong Kong are from the Philippines and are paid at least $600 (P29,500) per month, which is considerably higher than the country’s nominal wage of $213 (P10,460).
High birth rates as well as high unemployment rates produced a work force that was faster than the economy could provide jobs.
OFWs often face dangerous living and working conditions as they are legally required to live with their employer, leaving them vulnerable to potentially exploitative and abusive situations. Some complaints consist of insufficient food, no proper sleeping quarters and being denied days off work.
Suggested head – PH eyes passing bill raising age of sex consent from 12 to 16
The Congress is expected to approve a bill raising the age of sexual consent from 12 to 16 years old.
The proposed bill will make illegal having sex with a child below 16, punishable by life imprisonment, but exempting couples close in age. It is expected to be okayed by the Senate in the months to come, before reaching Pres. Duterte for signing into law.
Child rights believe that it would deter sexual predators. Patrizia Benvenuti, UNICEF head of child protection in the country, called it a “victory for Filipino children.”
The Philippines has one of the lowest ages for consensual sex around the world, allowing adults to legally have sex with children as young as 12. Child rights activists have long since pushed for the increase in age for sexual consent, especially as the country has become a hotbed for online child sex abuse.
Official data show alarmingly high rate of child rape and sex abuse. In 2015, a government-led study revealed that one in five children between 13 to 17 years old experienced sex violence, while the UNICEF said that one in 25 were raped in childhood.
The prosecution of perpetrators has been challenging as they could argue it was consensual, according to Rowena Legaspi, executive director of Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center.
However, defenders agree that while this is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to implement a systematic change to prevent child sex abuse and one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Southeast Asia.