We treat OFWs better, senior Israeli exec says
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - February 6, 2015 - 2:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos in Israel do not suffer from abuses and harsh work places as they do in other countries, Israel's top diplomat for Asia Pacific says.

Deputy Director General Mark Sofer, chief of the Asia and the Pacific division of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Manila is pleased at the foreign government's cooperation with the Filipino community in Israel.

"We treat—we feel that we do, and we do—[Overseas Filipino Workers] with the highest legal system that we have in place, the wages that we have, they don't suffer," Sofer said in a meeting with a small group of journalists Wednesday night.

Data from the Philippine Embassy in Israel indicate that most of the 31,000 Filipinos there work as caregivers. A small fraction also work in hotels and restaurants. Women outnumber men with a ratio of 6 to 1.

Sofer, however, was hesitant on mentioning particular countries where Filipino employees are disparaged.

"Any other areas around us where Philippine workers may not have the same—I’ll stop there without completing that particular sentence. But in Israel, there is never that feeling at all," Sofer said.

He explained that Israel sees the Philippines as an equal, especially with the two nations' long history and friendship.

Filipinos in Israel also enjoy higher wages, the minimum being $1,000 a month.

"They are completely and utterly bound by law, the employer, the way he or she treats the caregiver, the wage …  is very high," Sofer said.

Sofer spent a day in Manila earlier this week for a joint commission meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. The two sides exchanged ideas on strengthening economic, academic, defense, labor and development cooperation.

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ASIA AND THE PACIFIC ASIA PACIFIC DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL MARK SOFER FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY ALBERT ISRAEL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS PHILIPPINE EMBASSY SOFER
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