John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of Migrante Middle East, said that aside from the 16 distressed OFWs in Saudi Arabia, there are still 139 OFWs in different Filipino Resource Centers in the Middle East. Another 163 distressed OFWs are in Kuwait.
The Migrante International cited the case of 25 OFWs languishing at Salmiya jail in Kuwait. The said OFWs are all female and mostly work as domestic helpers. Migrante said the Filipina workers ran away from their abusive employers and were later arrested by the police for absconding.
The group identified them as Eva Ilagan, Jonalyn Hechanova, Josie Calicdan, Elena Tamparia, Florifel Francisco, Rosalinda Hasim, Rahima Castillo, Evelyn Sale, Annie Rose Guzman, Elizabeth Guinto, Leonora Quintero, Noriam Abdulmama, Erlinda Pena, Janet Yago, Janet Cabatu, Arolin Calma, Vivian Velziz, Roselyn Balanion, Ma. Elena Ancillas, Dely Talandang, Sorayna Timpoluc, Analeah Amil, Wilijada Damasina, and Canora Paloma.
Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International, lamented that Philippine embassy officials failed to support the 25 OFWs and have not even visited them at all.
The group said that about 3,000 OFWs were stranded in Kish Island in Iran. They were denied entry to the United Arab Emirates.
Thousands of Filipino deportees from Sabah, Malaysia suffered inhumane treatment, a fact-finding mission in October 2008 revealed.
There are more than half a million Filipino migrant workers in Sabah. In August 2002, there were 8,838 refugees from Sabah. In 2005, 30,000 undocumented workers and refugees were deported. As of October 2008, there were 35,000 Sabah deportees and the number was expected to increase to 200,000 by the end of the year, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Zamboanga City said.
The global economic crisis has been taking its toll on OFWs.
In Taiwan, 1,083 workers have been laid off as of November 2008.
The Hope Workers Center (HWC), a migrant NGO in Taiwan, reported that 781 have been terminated in Taoyuan alone.
Worse, the laid off OFWs from Taiwan did not get support from the Arroyo government.
The Arroyo government has announced it will deploy OFWs in the Middle East. However, the Migrante chapter in UAE said OFWs have also been laid off there. The group reported that about 500 workers were fired by the Nakeel company and 200 workers terminated by DAMAC-2 company, both are construction companies. Another 100 OFWs will be laid off from work in Abu Dhabi, said Migrante.