"A slave, a flirtatious maid, an incompetent nurse, and now a mail-order-bride. This is how Filipinas are being described at the international media at present. Unless the Arroyo administration will stop in exporting migrant women in the most dirty, dangerous and demeaning jobs abroad, this humiliating depiction of Filipinas will continue," lamented Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.
Migrante was reacting to the recent jest made by Alec Baldwin in the Late Night Show of David Letterman where he said: "I think about getting a Filipino mail-order bride at this point or a Russian one."
Prior to this incident, Chinese columnist Chip Tsao called the Philippines a nation of slaves. Teri Hatcher, an actress in a television series likewise questioned the medical certificates of Filipino doctors. While a British show, Harry & Paul ridiculed a Filipina maid as a sex symbol.
According to the group, POEA statistics show that 465,366 newly hired domestic helpers were deployed since 2001 up to 2007. They also asserted that most of these domestic helpers were deployed to the Middle East countries where reports of abuses against women are rampant.
"Contrary to what the President Arroyo would want to portray OFWs as professionals and highly skilled workers, domestic helpers remain as the leading job category that is being deployed abroad. The government cannot deny the fact that Filipino women are being marketed abroad as cheap labor in the most vulnerable jobs in countries where women's rights are in constant jeopardy," Martinez added.
Based on the POEA data, out of the top ten job categories of OFWs that were deployed in 2007 only nurses can be considered to be in the professional category. In the said ranking, second to domestic helpers are production workers, caregivers and service workers.
"As it continues to pursue a more intensified labor export policy, this government is bent in turning us into a nation of migrant workers being so cheaply sold as domestic workers, mail-order brides and caregivers," Martinez concluded.