15 Years After Death of Flor Contemplacion, OFWs Remain Vulnerable as Ever

Since there was no proof that she stole anything, despite her employers’ repeated alleged attempts to plant evidence against her, she was brought to the Riyadh office of her employment agency on Nov. 1, 2009.

“During daytime, we were being offered to other possible Arab employers,” Simpron said. But on Nov. 15, Simpron said one of the staff in the agency slapped and threatened to kill her. She escaped the next day and took refuge at the Bahay Kalinga of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Riyadh.

Simpron remembers that she did not have anything with her at that time. “All I had was myself,” she said.

Soon she was transferred to the deportation center in Riyadh where Simpron stayed for a month. “I returned home on Feb. 17, 2010,” Simpron said, “But has not received any further help from OWWA.”

“My family is hurting,” Simpron said, “If I was not strong enough to escape my conditions there, I would have been dead by now.


Migrante said despite exacting a mandatory $25 OWWA fee for each OFW, its services remain limited. Migrante cited the case of the health workers of Annasban, who had to camp out in front of OWWA’s office in Pasay City just to get what is due to them.

OFWs are demanding the junking of the OWWAs Omnibus Policy, which only perpetuate the abuse, they say. (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)

“The OWWA Omnibus Policy, enacted two years after Arroyo became president, made OFWs into virtual milking cows,” Martinez said. The P63 million ($1.3 million) daily collection from fees imposed on Filipinos who apply to work abroad and the billions of dollars in remittances that keep the Philippine economy afloat are the reasons why, according to Martinez, the present administration continues to pursue labor markets abroad instead of ensuring the protection of OFWs and generating enough jobs at home.

Migrante is challenging presidential bets to generate domestic jobs by pursuing genuine agrarian reform and developing local industries. They are also calling on presidential bets to make a stand against the OWWA Omnibus Policy. (Bulatlat.com)

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