Hundreds of foreign domestic workers demonstrated in the Lebanese capital Sunday to demand the scrapping of a sponsorship system that they complain leaves them open to abuse from employers.

Pinay, foreign domestic workers in Lebanon protest abuses

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By Agence France-Presse

Hundreds of foreign domestic workers demonstrated in the Lebanese capital Sunday to demand the scrapping of a sponsorship system that they complain leaves them open to abuse from employers.

Lebanon hosts more than 250,000 registered domestic workers, the vast majority of them women, from countries including Ethiopia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

They are excluded from the labour law, and instead obtain legal residency though their employers’ sponsorship under the so-called “kafala” system.

The protesters marching in Beirut held up placards reading “No to slavery and yes to justice” and “Stop kafala”.

“We want the cancellation of this system. There are employees imprisoned in houses and they need to have days off,” Dozossissane, a 29-year-old Ethiopian, told AFP.

Lebanon’s labour ministry introduced a standard contract for domestic workers in 2009, but the forms are often written in Arabic, a language many cannot read.

Activists regularly accuse the authorities of failing to take claims of abuse seriously, with maids, nannies and carers left at the mercy of employers.

Amnesty International last month urged Lebanon to end what it called the “inherently abusive” migration sponsorship system and change the labour law to offer domestic workers more protection.

A report from the rights group that surveyed 32 domestic workers revealed “alarming patterns of abuse”, including physical punishments, humiliating treatment and food deprivation.

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Sinisi ang iNITAG! Roque explains why he refused to take Sinovac vaccine

By Prince Golez

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he did not get vaccinated with China’s Sinovac vaccine, citing the recommendation of the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (iNITAG) to prioritize health workers in the vaccination program.

In his virtual presser on Tuesday, Roque said the iNITAG thumbed down the proposal for 50 government officials and other “influencers” to get vaccinated with CoronaVac, which was used during the start of the government’s mass coronavirus vaccination campaign.

“Gusto ko talaga magpabakuna kaya nga lang po merong tinatawag na iNITAG at tatapatin ko kayo na kami sa IATF ay nag propose na mga 50 na mga bakuna ireserba para sa tinatawag nating influencers para mapaigiting natin ang ating vaccine confidence. hindi nag sumangayon ang iNITAG. Ako’y sumusunod naman,” according to him.

“Kahapon nag mabuting loob ang PGH kung gusto mo bibigay na lang namin sayo at naghanada na po ako, kaya lang news came to me na matindi ang pagtutol ng iNITAG na magpaturok ang hindi frontliners so to avoid controversy hindi na po ako natuloy, at ang totoo naman po naubusan sila kahapon kasi akala nila 60 lang 128 ang nagpabakuna,” he added.

Roque said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr and deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 Vince Dizon were vaccinated as per the President Rodrigo Duterte’s order.

“Talagang si Presidente ang nagsabi, at least ang dalawang itong kinakainialangan mabakunahan dahil, of course, we need to walk the talk,” he also said.

Kiko: 1 year of no face-to-face classes equals 2 years of make-up classes

The government needs to prepare for mass return to school by pilot-testing face-to-face classes in low-risk areas in the country, Senator Kiko Pangilinan said on Monday.

In a co-sponsorship speech of Senate Resolution 668, Pangilinan said: “Isang taon na po ang nakakalipas, pero karamihan ng mga problemang hinaharap ng ating education system ay pareho pa rin hanggang ngayon. In fact, mas nadagdagan pa.”

“We owe it to our students, their parents, school faculty and staff, to be able to provide a safe environment to resume classes. We can only do that if we have the experience — kung alam na natin kung ano ang epektibo, dapat, at ligtas na gawin, at kung paano ito gagawin,” he said.

Intermittent Internet connection, the cost of mobile data adding to daily expenses, and the lack of a proper gadget are some of the problems that comes with the Department of Education’s (DepEd) blended distance learning program, Pangilinan said.

”Dahil ngayong blended learning ang mga bata ay hindi gaanong makapag-focus sa pag-aaral gawa ng minsan mahina ang signal ng mga data o wifi sa kanila kaya ang mga bata hindi nakakapasok,” he said.

“At sa hina ng signal hindi naiintindihan ng mga bata kung ano ang tinuturo ng guro nila. Minsan ang guro nawawalan din ng signal,” Pangilinan said.

“Dalawang taon na po halos ang kailangang habulin ng ating mga paaralan at mga mag-aaral. At bawat pagpapatagal natin sa pagbubukas ng klase ay mas dumadagdag pa ito,” he said.

“Hindi pa po riyan natatapos, dahil meron pa raw mga long-term effects. Malaki ang posibilidad ng pagdami ng mga ‘drop-outs’, nababawasan ang kagustuhang matuto, nababawasan daw ang mga ‘foundational skills’ na mahirap iregain at reintegrate sa loob ng education system,” he said, quoting the Philippine Pediatric Society.

“Sa isang normal na classroom situation daw, 22 percent ang learning gain. Pero sa ilalim ng distance education, there is 78 percent less learning. Nakakaalarma,” he added.

1st day of PH vaccine drive a ‘success’ – Palace

By Prince Golez

Yesterday’s launch of coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine drive was a success, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said a total of 756 people received China’s Sinovac vaccines during the first day of the government’s mass vaccination campaign.

“Naging napakatagumpay po ng Day 1 ng ating national Covid-19 vaccination program kung saan lahat po nagdiwang. May iba pa nga pong naiyak sa tuwa lalo na sa PGH (Philippine General Hospital) nung nakita nila na nagpapabakuna si (Director) Dr. (Gerardo) “Gap” Legaspi,” Roque said during his televised briefing.

“Tuloy-tuloy pa in po ang ating pag rollout ng mga bakuna. Maligaya po ang ating medical frontliners kasi nagkaroon sila ng peace of mind, bagamat exposed sila sa coronavirus, meron na silang proteksyon ngayon,” he also said.

A total of 600,000 vaccine doses donated by the Chinese government arrived in the country on Sunday. Of the initial batch, 100,000 doses will be given to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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