Roxanne Beroda has been working as a housekeeper in Lebanon for nine years, enduring long hours and even longer periods of separation from her three children as she worked to pay for their education back in the Philippines.
She has not seen her family in more than two years, and she may have to wait even longer if the current ban on sending Philippine workers to Lebanon is upheld.
“It’s very hard, especially for me because today is my daughter's high school graduation,” she said. “I wanted to go [back to the Philippines], but I’m afraid I can’t come back [to Lebanon], that’s why I cannot go.”
The Philippine government is considering lifting the three-year ban in an effort to provide more job opportunities.
But the move has received mixed reactions from workers who resent the travel restrictions and advocacy groups concerned with their safety.
Although the ban was originally prompted by safety concerns stemming from Israel's summer 2006 war with Hezbollah, it has prevented many Philippine workers, both legal and illegal, from visiting home out of fear they will not be allowed to return to Lebanon.
Some advocacy groups also have come out against the measure, citing Lebanon’s political instability and widespread worker abuse at the hands of employers.