Teach maids to speak Arabic before sending them to UAE, RP urged
MANILA, Philippines — Officials of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) want Filipino and other expatriate domestic helpers to be taught to speak conversational Arabic before they are sent to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a news report has said.
Online news site Khaleej Times (www.khaleejtimes.com) said the suggestion was made by officials of the General Directorate of Naturalization and Residency in Al Ain during a dialogue with the embassy representatives of the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia on Sunday.
“They (domestic helpers) should be properly informed about the country’s language, tradition and culture," Captain Fawaz Abad bin Difullah, coordination officer of the Immigration office, was quoted as saying.
Ministry of Interior officials called the meeting in a bid to address the growing problem of domestic workers escaping from their employers due to alleged abuses, maltreatment or non-payment of their salaries.
The problem is actually common not just in the UAE but in other Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Lebanon, officials say.
Philippine officials have said language barrier, in addition to the domestic workers’ lack of training on the use of modern appliances, is a common cause of misunderstanding between employers and their workers.
Maltreated or abused, domestic workers find no recourse but to escape from their employers.
Apart from the language barrier between housemaids and employers, also discussed during the dialogue were salaries and contracts of the maids and the duties and responsibilities of recruitment agencies, specifically those based in Al Ain, said Adelio Angelito Cruz, first secretary and consul at the Philippine Embassy.
Philippine Labor Attaché Nasser Munder noted during the dialogue that Filipino domestic helpers are in fact required to undergo training and receive certification from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Manila prior to employment.
“They learn basic skills such as how to operate sophisticated household appliances. In addition, they were given language and culture training about their country of destination by the Overseas Workers Welfare Authority," Munder said.
Embassy representatives also urged UAE officials to implement the Ministry of Labor’s policy requiring employers to transfer salaries of their maids to banks. The measure is meant to prevent employers from shortchanging their maids, which is one of the reasons many employees run away.
The UAE officials, on the other hand, reportedly promised to ensure the welfare and protection of foreign domestic workers.
“Generally, we were very happy with the officials who wanted to help us in protecting the rights of the household workers in Al Ain," said Cruz. - GMANews.TV