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Radio friend for Filipinos

A FRIENDLY VOICE:Kaibigan Jay hopes to make Filipinos feel more at home by answering any questions they might have about life in Taiwan on her Sunday show

Staff writer, with CNA

Feel at Home Ka Dito host Kaibigan Jay is seen in a radio studio on Feb. 3, 2016.

Photo: Screengrab from Kaibigan Jay’s Facebook page

The host of a weekly radio program that seeks to inform Filipino migrant workers about their rights and obligations in Taiwan, says the show also tries to make them “feel at home” in Taiwan.

Kaibigan Jay, who was born in Kaohsiung to a mother from the Philippines, has hosted the program in Filipino since February 2016 and invites listeners to voice their concerns about life in Taiwan.

She does her best to help listeners and, when necessary, directs their questions to the relevant authorities or the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, Jay said.

The program is usually divided into four segments.

To start, she talks about current affairs, Jay said, adding that one of the recent issues discussed was migrant workers who become pregnant in Taiwan.

She informed listeners that getting pregnant in Taiwan is different to the US, adding: “Do not think that by getting pregnant in Taiwan you will get citizenship.”

Jay also sometimes gives a weather report in the first section.

Filipino workers are not the only people who listen to her show, sometimes their employers also tune in, Jay said, adding that she uses Filipino when talking about issues regarding workers, but Mandarin for employer-related matters.

She informs her listeners about issues relevant to them, Jay said, adding: “Sometimes on the weekends, some migrant workers work extra jobs as singers or restaurant staff, which falls outside their permitted work and I do not recommend that they do these things.”

“Another case is the migrant workers who are [officially] unaccounted for,” she said. “I tell them that once that happens they lose some of their rights,” such as health insurance or certain legal protections.

“Recently there was a case where an Indonesian domestic worker jumped off a building, as she likely had limited resources to help her and nobody told her she could phone and ask for help,” Jay said.

The program aims to let migrant workers know where to find help, such as the 1995 hotline, which was established for migrant workers to make queries and file complaints.

The hotline is supported by the Ministry of Labor and works to safeguard the human rights of foreign workers, according to its Web site.

“The people who have it worst are migrant fishermen. In my opinion they are treated quite poorly in Taiwan because they often fall victim to exploitation by employers or agents,” Jay said.

“There was a recent case of a migrant fisherman who disappeared while at sea, but we do not know about his family and he often changed employers,” she said, adding that it is difficult to find workers’ families in cases like these.

The second section consists of a broadcast of news from the Philippines.

Between segments, Jay plays Filipino folk music.

“In the third segment, I talk about rules and regulations for at least 15 minutes, while in the fourth segment, I often interview migrant workers, for example winners of singing competitions or other talent contests,” she said.

“I interviewed a Filipino sand artist who secured a street performer’s permit in Taiwan and so he can legally perform his art in the country,” Jay said, adding that it is not easy to get a street performer permit.

The program also includes a segment on learning Chinese if there are no interviews that week, she said.

When asked how listeners can contact her, Jay said they can submit questions or comments to the show’s Facebook page.

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