- Title: MALAYSIA/PHILIPPINES: BACKGROUND FEATURE - ASIAN WORKERS
- Date: 3rd March 1998
- Summary: MANILA 1. PAULINE MANGILOG WALKING INTO HOUSE 2. MANGILOG AT DESK 3. MANGILOG SAYING SINCE IT'S A TV SATELLITE STATION THEY BUY SHOWS FROM OUTSIDE WHICH MEANT THEY DON'T DEAL IN RINGGIT, THEY DEAL IN DOLLARS, SO THEY WERE BADLY AFFECTED. THEY LOST A LOT OF MONEY. TO THINK THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR OF THE STATION, 1997, AND EVERYONE HAD TO GO (ENGLISH) KUALA LUMPUR 4. KUALA LUMPUR SKYLINE 5. PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS AND OTHER SKYSCRAPERS 6. MONEY CHANGER 7. MAN COUNTING RINGGIT 8. EXTERIOR OF BANK MANILA 9. PHOTOGRAPH OF PAULINE MANGILOG'S FAMILY KUALU LUMPUR 10. FOREIGN WORKERS ON CONSTRUCTION SITE 11. CARS ON STREET MANILA 12. MANGILOG AT DESK 13. MANGILOG SAYING I NEARLY FELL OF MY SEAT - REALLY! IT WAS REALLY BIG. I DON'T THINK I'D BE ABLE TO EARN IT HERE. ONE MONTH'S SALARY I'D BE ABLE TO EARN IN FIVE MONTHS. WE WERE BEING GIVEN A TRANSPORT ALLOWANCE - YOU KNOW, THE EXPAT (EXPATRIATE) DEAL - A TRANSPORT ALLOWANCE, A HOUSING ALLOWANCE (ENGLISH) KUALA LUMPUR 14. STREET SCENES MANILA 15. MANGILOG SAYING OH MY GOD, IF ITS HAPPENING IN MALAYSIA IT COULD BE HAPPENING IN THE PHILIPPINES, AND I COULD EVEN GET IT WORSE IN THE PHILIPPINES (ENGLISH) 16. STREET SCENES 17. PESOS BEING PRINTED/ COUNTED HONG KONG 18. HONG KONG SKYLINES 19. FILIPINO DOMESTIC WORKERS GATHERED IN HONG KONG STREETS ON A SUNDAY MORNING UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, PHILIPPINES 20. STREET IN RURAL TOWN 21. PEOPLE IN SHOP 22. MAN WITH BIKELOAD OF BANANAS 23. PROFESSOR SOLITA MONSOD, ECONOMIST, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES, SAYING I THINK THAT POINTS OUT TO THE VULNERABILITY THAT WE HAVE WITH RESPECT TO THE SOURCE OF OUR FOREIGN EXCHANGE. THE FACT THAT WE HAVE TO EXPORT OUR LABOUR RATHER THAN GOODS MAKES US REALLY VULNERABLE TO OUR HOST COUNTRIES IN TERMS OF THEIR DEMANDS FOR WORKERS. (ENGLISH) KUALA LUMPUR 24. FOREIGN WORKERS ON CONSTRUCTION SITE 25. SUPERMARKET CASHIER 26. BANGLADESHI SUPERMARKET CASHIER SAYING I'D BE FORCED TO GO HOME IF MY WORK PERMIT IS NOT RENEWED MANILA 27. PAULINE ENTERING HOUSE/ SHUTTING DOOR Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 18th March 1998 12:00
- Location: KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA/ MANILA, PHILIPPINES
- Country: ASIA Philippines Malaysia
- Reuters ID: LVA91OPY8HAAOK3MTY32NK5NXOT7
- Story Text: The economic crisis ravaging East Asia is bad enough for the locals.But for millions of migrant workers in the region it's catastrophic.Drawn in boom times to fuel dramatic economic growth, they are the first to be fired when trouble strikes.Reuters Television's Malcom Davidson reports --------------------------------------------------------- After working abroad for more than a year, twenty-seven year old Pauline Mangilog is now back at home in the Philippines.
But her homecoming hasn't been a happy one.She would have preferred to stay in Malaysia, where she had a lucrative job in television - but she couldn't.Pauline was laid off when the company she was working for shut down only a year after it began broadcasting.
------------------- CAPTION: PAULINE MANGILOG, FORMER MIGRANT WORKER "SINCE IT'S A TELEVISION SATELLITE STATION, THEY BUY SHOWS OUTSIDE WHICH MEANS THEY DON'T DEAL IN RINGGIT BUT IN DOLLARS SO THEY WERE BADLY HIT.THEY LOST A LOT OF MONEY IN THE FIRST YEAR AND TO THINK THIS WAS JUST THE FIRST YEAR OF STATION.SO EVERYBODY HAD TO GO." (ENGLISH) ------------------- Pauline is one of thousands of foreign professionals working in Malaysia who have fallen victim to the regional economic crisis.Asian currencies tumbled in value against the U.S.
dollar and Malaysia's currency was not spared.Its value dropped about 45 percent against the dollar! It was bad enough for Malaysians to see the value of their money decrease so rapidly, but even worse for a foreigner like Pauline, whose family back home in the Philippines was depending on the money that she sent them every month.
And, of course, Pauline was not alone.Some two million other foreigners from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines were also employed in Malaysia.
Many of them were employed to do the lower-paid jobs shunned by locals but Malaysia's labour market has expanded so much over the last five years, that the country also began looking abroad for professionals like Pauline.
While leaving her friends and family in the Philippines was a tough decision, Pauline knew she had to do it - especially when she found out how much money she was going to earn.
-------------------- CAPTION: PAULINE MANGILOG "I NEARLY FELL OFF MY SEAT.I SAID, REALLY - IT'S THIS BIG? I DON'T THINK I'D BE ABLE TO EARN IT - ONE MONTH'S SALARY - I WON'T BE ABLE TO EARN THAT IN FIVE MONTHS.WE WERE GIVEN TRANSPORTATION, YOU KNOW THE EXPAT DEAL - TRANSPORT, HOUSING ALLOWANCE." ----------------- But when the currency crisis hit in July last year, foreign workers were the first to be made redundant.There was nothing to do but to go home.But for Pauline the Philippines offered few opportunities.
------------------------ CAPTION: PAULINE MANGILOG "MY GOD - IF THIS IS HAPPENING IN MALAYSIA, IT COULD BE HAPPENING IN THE PHILIPPINES AND I COULD EVEN GET IT WORSE IN THE PHILIPPINES." (ENGLISH) ----------------------- And Pauline was right.The situation in the Philippines is just as bad, if not worse, than in Malaysia.The peso has lost more than 40 percent of its value since last July.And economists have warned of massive layoffs if the value of the peso continues to fall.
What is even more worrying is the fact that there are close to a million Filipinos working in the Asian region.
In Hong Kong alone, 300,000 Filipino domestic workers are heavily dependent on the Hong Kong dollar, which has not been spared from the crisis.
If the maids start losing their jobs and being sent home, it could have disastrous effects for the Philippine economy which is heavily dependent on remittances from its workers overseas.
------------------------ CAPTION: SOLITA MONSOD, ECONOMIST "I THINK THAT POINTS OUT TO THE VULNERABILITY THAT WE HAVE WITH RESPECT TO THE SOURCE OF OUR FOREIGN EXCHANGE.THE FACT THAT WE HAVE TO EXPORT OUR LABOUR RATHER THAN GOODS MAKES US REALLY VULNERABLE TO OUR HOST COUNTRIES IN TERMS OF THEIR DEMANDS FOR WORKERS." (ENGLISH) ------------------------ But it's not only the Philippines that has been hard hit by the crisis.Workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are also scattered all over the region doing all kinds of work...and sending large proportions of their hard-won money to their families back home.
This supermarket cashier from Bangladesh said he liked working in Malaysia and wouldn't know where to go if he lost her job.
------------------------ (UNIDENTIFIED SUPERMARKET CASHIER) "I'D BE FORCED TO GO HOME IF MY WORK PERMIT IS NOT RENEWED" ------------------------ As for Pauline, the future is not looking too bright.
Since leaving Manila, job opportunities have become more scarce.Pauline had long dreamt of living in her own house together with her parents and younger brother.
She may have to wait a little longer to see that dream come true.
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