Babaeng Biya(hero), the national campaign of “Safe and Fair: Realizing women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region”. marks its third year of implementation, continuing its commitment in providing more Filipina migrant workers with information and assistance that will support them in achieving a safe and fair migration experience.
Babaeng Biya(hero), a play on the words “biyahe” (Filipino for journey) and hero, aims to increase Filipina migrant workers’ and their families’ access to important information and essential services throughout the different phases of migration: pre-departure, in transit, on-site/abroad and upon their return.
In commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the campaign sought to further amplify its cause as it launched Maine Mendoza as the Babaeng Biya(hero) Celebrity Champion.
The actress and social media maven was launched in the campaign’s event, Together Tayo Babaeng Biya(hero), #SafeSaanMan—a Facebook live session hosted by Suzi Entrata-Abrera which aimed to widen the public’s awareness on the current state of Filipina migrant workers amid the pandemic.
Likewise, the program presented updates on the Babaeng Biya(hero) initiative that can help out more Filipina migrant workers—such as the Babaeng Biya(hero) website, mobile app, helpline, and the upcoming “May I Help You?” information kiosk in major airports to be launched next month.
This initiative also kickstarted the global campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, from November 25 to December 10 (Human Rights Day). The Philippine version of the campaign is the 18 Days Campaign to End Violence against Women which is extended until Dec 12, when the Philippine government signed in 2000 the United Nations Optional Protocols against human trafficking and smuggling.
Lending her time and talent as Babaeng Biya(hero)’s new Celebrity Champion, Mendoza has proven herself to be a staunch ally of workers here and abroad through her personal endeavors and roles portrayed in TV and film projects. She espouses Safe and Fair Philippines’ values of an empowered force who has the capacity to inspire her fellow women, especially during these unprecedented times.
“For decades, Filipina migrant workers have faced, but have also stood up and campaigned against abuses, violence and labour exploitation. The violations continue, and have been worsened by the COVID pandemic,” shared ILO National Project Coordinator Rex Varona. “So we want to support the continued organizing, campaigns and advocacies of the women OFWs. We greatly appreciate Maine’s support and participation in our Babaeng BiyaHero campaign, since this will greatly boost the advocacy efforts of the women OFWs. Her involvement will help inspire more women OFWs to join the Babaeng BiyaHero journey towards ending violence against women, and in making labour migation safe and fair especially for women.”
“The current health crisis has clearly intensified the risk of gender-based violence due to isolation, restricted mobility, and the lack of attention to,” adds UN Women National Project Coordinator Charisse Jordan. “With the lockdown, women migrant workers, including those who remained in destination countries or were forced to return home, are trapped with abusive family members, employers, and perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence. Mobility restrictions have further reduced the ability of women migrant workers to seek assistance and access essential services such as psychosocial support, financial aid, or alternative shelter. Women migrant workers are inherently empowered, and with Maine’s support, we hope to further extend this message to the whole community – it is time we give back to our babaeng biyaheros – who have given so much for their families and our country.”
“I’ll always salute our Filipina migrant workers,” said Babaeng Biya(hero) Celebrity Champion Maine Mendoza. “I feel grateful to be a part of this initiative since it’s something close to my heart, especially after being exposed to a lot of opportunities that helped me understand their situation. I look forward to bringing awareness and educating more people about how we can create a culture of safety and security for our women here and abroad.”
Safe and Fair is part of the European Union and United Nations’ Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls. In the Philippines, the programme is co-implemented by UN Women and the International Labour Organization.
Visit and follow the Safe and Fair Philippines Facebook page for more information and the latest updates on “Together Tayo Babaeng Biya(hero), #SafeSaanMan”. Go to the Babaeng Biya(hero) website for more information about the situation of Filipina migrant workers, or if you need to contact or report any incidents.