Manila wants to be Facebook friend with Filipino maids

The Philippine government is asking Filipino maids abroad to be its friend on Facebook so that it can better watch over their welfare. -- PHOTO: NEW PAPER
The Philippine government is asking Filipino maids abroad to be its friend on Facebook so that it can better watch over their welfare. -- PHOTO: NEW PAPER

MANILA - The Philippine government is asking Filipino maids abroad to be its friend on Facebook so that it can better watch over their welfare.

In a memorandum circular issued on Feb 24, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said maids working outside the Philippines should have a Facebook account and add the POEA and their recruiters as friends.

The POEA also made it mandatory for recruitment and placement firms to have Facebook accounts and to include in their friends lists all maids they are sending overseas.

Agencies without Facebook accounts will not be allowed to send maids abroad, the agency said.

POEA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the idea is for Facebook to serve as "communication platform" that the recruiters can use to check on the maids.

"Keeping in contact with domestic workers using Facebook is a good move. Facebook is free, and many domestic workers use it," Mr Vicente Cabe, the Philippines' labour attache in Singapore, told The Straits Times.

Mr Emmanuel Geslani, a consultant of the recruitment industry in the Philippines, said using Facebook makes sense since most maids already have an account with the social media giant.

"You can check from their posts whether they are happy, what problems they regularly complain about by following them on Facebook," he said.

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ameltan@sph.com.sg