Trouble in Paradise for 300 Filipino Workers in the Maldives

Velarde said that it is not the first time that his brother worked for Ashley Builders Corporation. But certainly, she told Bulatlat, this is the first time that he went through this kind of hardship. “He cries every time I talk to him on the phone,” she said. “He would tell me of the difficulty they are going through.”

She said they have already talked with Morales, Ashley’s engineer, but he just told them that the company is “currently having a problem,” which he did not bother explaining to the worried families.


Migrante chairman Garry Martinez said that in July they have already called the attention of the Philippine embassy in Bangladesh since it has consular jurisdiction over Filipinos residing and working in the Maldives.

“They are always bragging about the One Team Country Approach of the families,” Martinez said, “So we are challenging the government to repatriate the OFWs in 24 hours.”

An appeal for help (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao /

The One Team Country Approach is a “strategy” by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency to respond swiftly to OFWs in crisis. Martinez told Bulatlat that in their dialogues with these government agencies, they were told that, through the One Team Country Approach, the government can repatriate a distressed OFW in 24 hours.

Martinez said the DFA has a P100-million budget for repatriation and P50-million budget for legal assistance of OFWs. The OFWs in the Maldives, he said, should benefit from this resources.

In a statement on July 31, the DFA claimed that it has already instructed the embassy in Dhaka to investigate the inhuman working conditions that Migrante has complained about.

But since then, no relevant changes had taken place and the OFWs working for Ashley Builders are still drinking rain water, taking a bath in the salt water, and catching fish in the beautiful beaches of the Maldives for their meals. (

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