Information on the ability/interest of the Philippines government in protecting Filipino citizens against threats or harm from foreign governments in the Philippines or abroad, and from agents other than those of foreign governments against Filipino citizens residing either within or outside of the Philippines [PHL26088.E]

Information on actions taken by the government of the Philippines to assist Filipino workers abroad is available in the attached documents. For information on the protection available to Filipino workers inside the Philippines, please consult Responses to Information Requests PHL26031.E of 12 March 1997 and PHL26087.E of 12 March 1997.

The following information was provided during a 10 February 1997 telephone interview with the acting director of the Apostleship of the Sea-Philippines, an organization that provides assistance to Filipino seamen. The Apostleship of the Sea- Philippines is part of the Episcopal Commission for the Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines, and is part of a worldwide network of 185 centres for seafarers. The organization provides legal assistance to seafarers through an agreement with a law office in the Philippines. The organization has handled several cases involving abuse of Filipino seamen.

The source stated that the government of the Philippines is proud of the actions taken by the Filipino seamen on the Maersk Dubai, and the Filipino authorities would be ready to provide any assistance required by those seamen. The source strongly emphasized that the Filipino seamen of the Maesrk Dubai did nothing wrong and broke no laws of the Philippines. Philippines' president Fidel Ramos holds Filipino seamen and workers in high esteem. The source added that it would be very difficult for any Filipino government to not assist Filipino workers abroad since they send an estimated $7.7 billion each year to their families in the Philippines. Any Filipino government would try to protect this important source of revenue and would have an interest in assisting Filipino foreign workers abroad who are experiencing difficulties.

The following information was provided during a 29 January 1997 telephone interview with a professor of political science at Louisiana State University who specializes in the appellate court system in the Philippines.

The source stated that there are no broad-base freely available legal aid in the Philippines. This situation makes it difficult for poor people to use the court system for redress. However, the source was aware of several instances where poor people were able to present their cases to the Filipino Supreme Court. The source added that there is a well-organized network of non-governmental organizations in the Philippines.

The following information was provided during a 5 February 1997 telephone interview with a professor of political science at the University of North Texas in Denton who is a specialist on judicial politics in the Philippines.

The source stated that threats from a foreign government would not be important in the Maersk Dubai case, and it would be no problem to protect them from such threats in the Philippines.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Acting director, Apostleship of the Sea-Philippines, Manila. 10 February 1997. Telephone interview.

Professor of political science, University of North Texas, Denton. 5 February 1997. Telephone interview.

Professor of political science, Louisiana State University, Baton-Rouge. 29 January 1997. Telephone interview.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 7 June 1995. Lachlan Carmichael. "Manila Urged to Blacklist Employers Who Mistreat Filipinos." (NEXIS)

_____. 28 March 1995. "Ramos to Seek Clemency for Condemned Filipino in UAE." (NEXIS)

Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 23 June 1996. BC Cycle. "Ramos Creates Legal Fund for Filipino Workers Abroad." (NEXIS)

Moneyclips (Berkshire(. 26 June 1996. Joe Avancena. "Another Ploy to Tickle Overseas Filipino Workers." (NEXIS)

_____. 23 June 1996. Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr. "Manila Extends Free Legal Aid for FMWs." (NEXIS)