Senators Should Help Expose OFWs’ Plight in Middle East – Migrante

Migrante called on senators to help expose the deplorable conditions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in deportation centers and jails in the Middle East.

BY BULATLAT
MIGRANT WATCH
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 10, April 13-19, 2008

Migrante called on senators to help expose the deplorable conditions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in deportation centers and jails in the Middle East.

An international alliance of OFW organizations, Migrante has chapters in the Middle East. A delegation of senators headed by Senate President Manny Villar is scheduled to attend the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in South Africa.

John Leonard Monterona, Middle East regional coordinator of Migrante, said in a statement last April 11 that the Philippine senators should maximize their attendance by appealing the OFWs’ plight to fellow IPU member-parliamentarians.

He said that there are OFWs on death row in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan and Bahrain. He added that there are more than 500 OFWs inside the deportation center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and around 100 in distress at the Philippine embassy’s Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh, also in Saudi Arabia.

“(There are also) more than 200 OFWS in distress in Jordan; more than 30 OFWs in Kuwait who were forced to scrounge trash looking for their daily subsistence; and more than 20 in Dubai, UAE including the distressed OFWs working for the Princess House party organizers,” Monterona said.

“They are OFWs, runways who can’t anymore afford to stay working with their errant and abusive employers,” Monterona said, adding that they are often manhandled by their employer, harassed sexually; not paid for their labor and are being degraded.

Stressing that the intervention of senators is necessary, Monterona lamented the Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s “dilly-dallying efforts” that only prolonged the suffering of OFWs.

“Unlike Macapagal-Arroyo’s recent junket travel to Hong Kong costing the government an estimated P2 million ($48,083, based on an exchange rate of P41.595 per US dollar) and (Executive Secretary Eduardo) Ermita’s hosting for the diplomatic community a lavish buffet lunch reception at the luxury Hotel Intercontinental in Geneva, Switzerland prior to its presentation of the Philippine Human rights report to the United Nations on April 11, our senators’ attendance to the IPU assembly is a milestone especially if they could gain support from other parliamentarians around the world promoting Philippine interests and concerns,” Monterona said. (Bulatlat.com)

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