(File photo)

MANILA – Senator Raffy Tulfo on Wednesday said a “one strike policy” should be imposed against recruitment agencies that fail to protect their overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from abusive employers.

Tulfo made this comment in response to the interpellation of Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III to the former’s privilege speech on the abuses being experienced by the OFWs abroad, particularly in the Middle East.

The neophyte senator said he will make sure that the erring recruitment agencies will be banned forever.

He said sexual and physical abuses are enough basis to implement the “one strike policy”, vowing to review all the records of recruitment agencies.

“One miss and you die. It is the life that counts. That’s why I will run after them,” Tulfo said.

Tulfo, chair of the Senate committee on migrant workers, also said he also will push for the removal of Kafala, a system used to monitor migrant workers by means of confiscating their passports.

Reacting to videos of abused OFWs played during Tulfo’s privilege speech, Pimentel suggested to totally ban the deployment of OFWs to countries with bad reputations and records.

Nakakagalit, kulang ang salita para ilarawan ang ating nakikita sa mga pangyayaring ito (Infuriating, there are not enough words to describe what we have seen),” Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said.

Villanueva said the government must focus on creating more jobs “so that we will not be sending them abroad.”

Senator Robin Padilla said maltreating or hurting OFWs are not part of the teachings of Islam.

Padilla, whose Muslim name is Abdul Aziz, said he felt hurt after learning that some of the countries where the abuses occurred were predominantly Muslim - such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

"Meron lang po akong gustong linawin. Ang mga ganap na ito ay hindi po katuruan ng Muslim. Wala po ito sa katuruan namin. Katunayan, ang turo po sa amin ng Propetang Mohammad, kailanman kahit sinong tao dapat tratuhin mong pantay-pantay lalo na po ang tinatawag nating servants, kasambahay, katulong. Sila po ay pinoproteksyunan ng Islam (I want to make one thing clear. These are not what Islam teaches. Islam and the Prophet Mohammad teach us to treat everyone equally, especially servants and helpers. They are protected by Islam)," Padilla said.

"Kaya po sana hinihingi ko ang patawad ng aking mga kababayan sa ganap na ito sapagka't ang mga gumagawa po nito ay matatawag nating mga Arabo. Huwag po natin tawagin na mga Muslim (I ask for forgiveness from my fellow Filipinos for what was done by these Arabs. They should not be called Muslims)," he added.

Padilla said OFWs should be prepared for their country of destination through basic education on the language and culture of the host country.

He said those who are found to be negligent for the plight of the OFWs should be punished. (PNA)