Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Japan Soon to Accept Entertainers Again

The Philippine Overseas Workers Administration (POEA) chief Rosalinda Baldoz is still optimistic that Filipino overseas performing artists (OPAs) can enter again in Japan.

“There’s still hope for deployment of OPAs to Japan,” said Baldoz.

Along with her statement is the stern warning to Filipino OPAs not to enter Japan other than through valid visas, noting that with the decline of OPAs deployed through entertainer visas, other schemes to enter Japan have been proliferated.

“The use of tourist visas, temporary visitor pass, and “spouse or children of Japanese National visas have gone up. Under these visa categories, Filipino entertainers are able to work in Japan but without protection under Philippine or Japanese laws,” she said.

The Administrator also said that Filipino workers entering in Japan using such visa categories are more vulnerable to human trafficking. For that reason, she recommends that the government continue pursuing bilateral discussions with the Japanese government at the technical and senior officials’ level and to include in such bilateral discussions measures to ensure the qualifications of the OPAs as well as ways for their better protection.

The government is still negotiating to pursue high-level consultations with the view of forging a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and Japan on anti-human trafficking.

She underlined that it is only through these concrete undertaking that the legitimate concerns of the entertainment industry can be addressed.

“We would not want to see our OPAs victimized by illegal recruiters and human traffickers either for deployment to Japan or to any other parts of the world,” she said.

The OPAs are often described as “sex slaves”, but Baldoz denied it.

“It is already enough that they have fallen prey to unscrupulous recruiters and traffickers. We do not want to further aggravate their suffering and condition by having to label them,” she added.

This article was first published in www.ofwguide.com on September 25, 2006

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