The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said Singapore has moved to bolster the protection of vulnerable migrants, especially foreign domestic workers, working for the first time in that country through a compulsory Foreign Domestic Workers’ Safety Awareness Course (FDW-SAC).

A report reaching Labor and Employment Acting Secretary Danilo P. Cruz indicated that the Singaporean government’s efforts to safeguard foreign domestic workers dovetail with the Philippine government’s initiatives to promote pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS) to all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) leaving for global work destinations.

The FDW-SAC is part of a package of measures implemented by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in 2005 in conjunction with the island-economy’s safety body, the Singapore National Safety Council (SNSC) to improve the safety and welfare of foreign domestic workers.

While the course is compulsory for first time foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in that country, even those already employed in Singapore prior to its initial implementation are encouraged to participate in the program.

Significantly, the MOM has also started crafting a counterpart program for Singaporean employers in order to ensure safe and wholesome conditions for FDWs.

Singapore, in 2005, sustained its place as one of the top 10 global destinations of OFWs, even as preliminary DOLE records show that some 20,189 OFWs were deployed in the host economy between January and August, or an increase of 25.14 percent compared to 16,133 in the same period 2004.

While the medium of instruction for Singapore’s FDW-SAC program is generally English, there are plans to hold classes in Filipino.

The Singaporean safety awareness course for foreign domestic workers is composed of two four-hour classes, each with forty FDWs actively participating in the program’s theory and practicum components.

The course provides the participants with a training kit that incorporates “A Handy Guide for FDWs inSingapore;” “Your Rights & Obligations When Working in Singapore;” and an “Orientation Video for FDWs.”

The “handy guide” pamphlet provided for foreign domestic workers includes discussions/sections on “work permit regulations and laws of Singapore; keeping yourself healthy; safety in high-rise buildings; electrical and fire safety; prevention of slips and falls; safety and caring for young children, for the elderly and for persons with disabilities; basic first aid and what to do in an emergency; road safety; crime prevention;” vital telephone numbers; and even a portion for a worker to record and account the salary paid by an employer.

Acting Secretary Cruz said the DOLE is thus eyeing the possibility of incorporating the Singaporean kit into the pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS) for OFWs as “this would be good for their protection and welfare and help optimize their productivity in the Singaporean economy.”

source: Information and Publication Service

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