Activists Blame Labor Export Policy amid BBC’s ‘Racist’ Skit


Activists from various organizations said the government’s labor export policy makes Filipinos vulnerable to racism and other abuses.

Members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Migrante International, GABRIELA, among others, held a protest in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs, 1:30 p.m.

The BBC comedy Harry and Paul portrayed a Filipina dressed as a maid and a sex entertainer for a depressed and aging British man.

Joan Salvador, spokesperson of GABRIELA, said that Filipino women are subjected to various forms of abuse and exploitation.

Meanwhile, Gary Martinez, spokesperson of Migrante International criticized the DFA’s ‘hypocrisy.’
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos earlier said that the Philippine Embassy in London has demanded an apology from the BBC for the ‘slur on Filipino domestic workers.’

Martinez said the DFA is guilty of insulting the overseas Filipino workers as it has proposed the mandatory psychological tests for OFWs. “Hindi ba mas matinding paglapastangan at pambabastos yan?” (Isn’t that a more severe insult?)

Martinez said the DFA and the Arroyo government have continued to neglect distressed OFWs. He said that families of OFWs in death row have sought audience with Conejos but the latter was always busy.

GABRIELA said, “For decades now, Filipinas overseas have been maltreated, raped and abused with nary an iota of concern from the Philippine government.” The group cited the case of Grace, an OFW in Kuwait raped by her employer and the case of 22-year old Hazel who was raped by an American soldier in Okinawa, Japan early this year.

Martinez said the DFA and the Arroyo government have no moral ascendancy to demand apology.
The groups also hit the Philippine government’s hosting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). Martinez said the forum only aims to further exploit OFWs.

In a statement, Bayan said, “It is not enough that the Philippine government ask BBC to issue a public apology. This is certainly not enough when the Arroyo government continues to export thousands of Filipinos to work abroad because it cannot provide decent jobs for them in their own country. The Philippine government must stop exporting Filipinos as cheap labor abroad and instead provide jobs for them here.” (

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