MANILA, Philippines—The deployment of maids and other domestic workers abroad “continues to soar” despite the government requirement that they should be paid a basic salary of $400 a month, a recruitment industry expert said Saturday.
Emmanuel Geslani said official figures from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that the number of domestic workers deployed in 2010 increased by 11 percent to 154,535 and comprised 45 percent of the total number of the 341,966 new hires deployed in 2010.
He added that 138,222 domestic workers were deployed in 2009, an increase of 12 percent from 123,332 in 2008.
“The deployment… domestic workers continues to soar each year as demand for Filipino maids is unabated especially in the Middle East, overshadowing professional and skilled manpower sectors,” Geslani said in a statement.
He said the number of deployed domestic workers decreased only in 2007—down to 107,135 from 144,321 in 2006—when the new rules for the hiring of Filipino domestic workers were implemented by the POEA. However, their numbers rebounded in 2008 and reached 123,332.
Geslani said that POEA statistics also showed that more women workers were deployed in the last 10 years—63 percent compared with just 37 percent for men.
“The high figure of women workers indicates a strong desire among those young women in the under-privileged and those below the poverty line to work as domestic workers to support their families amidst the difficulties and hardships as a domestic worker,” Geslani said.
He added that the category of service workers include those working as janitresses, chambermaids, car washers, household drivers, and the like.
“Even the 2008 world financial crisis failed to dampen the demand for Filipina service workers as their numbers significantly increased in 2008 and 2009,” Geslani said.
“Middle East countries were not affected by the economic turmoil in the West and oil prices started to climb in those years, sustaining the growth in those countries,” he added.
Geslani said the local recruitment industry was optimistic that domestic worker eployment will increase in 2012 with the expected re-opening of the Lebanon and Jordan labor markets upon the completion of standard employment contracts between government and private-sector representatives.
On the other hand, local recruiters were also urging the government to intensify its crackdown against human trafficking and illegal recruiters who continue to defy Philippine laws, he added.