An advocacy group for overseas workers has urged the Philippine government to implement an escrow-fund requirement for Filipinos in the Middle East strictly.

Marcia Sadion, national president of the Advocates and Keepers Organization of Overseas Filipino Workers (AKO-OFW), said some 5 million Filipinos in the Middle East will be vulnerable to maltreatment, non-payment of wages and abuse if the escrow fund to cover legal claims is not implemented, the Manila Standard reported.

Sadion said the group had called on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to implement the escrow fund strictly and raise the initial funding from US$10,000 to $50,000, as the initial amount is not enough to cover the cost of the claims.

In July, the Philippine government announced that recruitment agencies in Kuwait were required to place $10,000 in escrow that would serve as a kind of insurance  for Filipino domestic workers.

However, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration temporarily suspended the fund requirement this month as the government wants to implement the rule for the whole of the Middle East and other countries hiring Filipino domestic workers, The Manila Times reported.

Read: Agencies to set up escrow funds for Filipino maids in Kuwait