Filipino teachers feel the pinch

19-May-2020 Intellasia | BangkokPost | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Filipino teachers in Thailand are struggling after schools nationwide closed weeks ago in attempts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Although they are still technically employed, many are hired under a “no work, no pay” status. This means they have to survive with no income until schools reopen again in July.

Felma Requias, an English teacher at Wat Don Muang School in Bangkok, said she has been out of work since mid-March when the Education Ministry ordered schools across the country to shut down.

“When there are no classes, we do not get paid,” Ms Requias said. “Most Filipino teachers here are on a no work, no pay set-up. We are hired through agencies and they are the ones who pay our salaries.”

The 29-year-old said she previously earned 20,000-25,000 baht a month, which enabled her to make ends meet.

“Now I have no income at all, but I still have to eat, pay rent and utility bills,” she said, adding that another 300 Filipino teachers who work under her agency are also facing the same plight.

Ms Requias said the agency had helped by handing out free “survival packs”. Each package includes instant noodles, canned fish, eggs, cooking oil and other necessities.

“We can also borrow money from the agency if we really need it, but I chose to borrow from my brother instead,” Ms Requias said.

While some Filipinos would rather go home, Ms Requias said she wants to stay and wait for schools to reopen.

“I don’t think the situation in the Philippines will be any better. The rate of Covid-19 infections in my homeland is worse than in Thailand. I want to work here as it’s harder to find a decent paying job in the Philippines,” she said.

Ms Requias, who has been teaching in Thailand for two years, said she hopes life returns to normal as quickly as possible so she can get back to work. “I miss the children in class. I can’t wait to return to school,” she said.

A recent survey by PinoyThaiyo, a website run by the Filipino community in Thailand, found 81 percent of Filipinos here have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis either directly or indirectly. Some 1,047 Filipino workers from different provinces took part.

In a 2017 report from the Department of Employment of Thailand, Filipinos topped the number of migrant workers out of nine countries taking jobs in teaching, management, engineering, architecture and business with 14,830.


Category: Philippines

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