SAFE and Fair Philippines is launching “Kuwentong OFW: Mga Babaeng Biya(hero) sa Panahon ng COVID,” a series of Facebook Live discussions that will talk about the issues and experiences of Filipina migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hosted on the “Safe and Fair: Babaeng Biya(hero)” Facebook page, the first session will air tomorrow, May 28 at 8 p.m. Each session brings together key government and non-government partners to discuss a variety of topics related to the situation, safety, and well-being of female Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in this uncertain time. Viewers will also be able to ask questions for the speakers during the live Q&A segment at the end of each program.
The first session, moderated by television host Suzi Entrata-Abrera and internet sensation Kaladkaren Davila, will specifically focus on the situation of women migrant workers, issues of gender-based violence (GBV) during the COVID-19 crisis, the reporting and assistance channels in cases of GBV, and services for women OFWs in the Philippines and abroad. The episode will also touch on the support that they can get as they endure the pandemic. Actress and musician Glaiza de Castro will also appear on the first episode to express her support and share stories from OFWs.
This initiative is part of “Safe and Fair Philippines’ Babaeng Biya(hero)” campaign that aims to make the labor migration journey safe and fair for every female migrant workers in the ASEAN region. Safe and Fair is part of the European Union and United Nations’ Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls. In the Philippines, the organization is co-implemented by UN Women and the International Labour Organization.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has infected thousands of Filipinos abroad, especially women migrant health workers and domestic workers. Hundreds of thousands of women OFWs have now been displaced, lost their jobs or income; or locked down abroad,” shares Rex Varona, International Labour Organization national project officer. ”Many have been repatriated back in the Philippines, experienced stigmatization, and are jobless and face an uncertain future. We want to work in partnership with women OFWs, the government and partners to overcome these challenges,” he adds.
“Safe and Fair believes that women migrant workers are heroes of their own stories. With the current health crisis, they are reaching out to authorities, seeking information about the pandemic while finding ways to remain safe. Even when abroad, they make sure that their families are attended to and able to access the assistance that should be afforded to all. Indeed, Filipino women migrants are exercising their voice, choice, and agency – Tinig, Pagpapasya, at Kasarinlan – and we want to show these women voyager-heroes, our Babaeng Biyaheroes our support. We want to be there for them, as they have always been for their families, for the country – for us,” shares Charisse Jordan, UN Women’s national project officer.
“This FB live session also aims to provide a safe channel through which women migrant workers can seek redress, and voice out their opinions without the risk of judgment. We encourage viewers to actively listen and interact with speakers. Every woman migrant worker is welcome to join us in our discussion,” she adds.