Repatriated OFWs to OWWA: Remove Welfare Officer from post, save 30+ Pinays from “notorious” Saudi firm

June 1, 2010

After months of agony, OFWs reunited again to call for the removal from post of a welfare officer whom they accuse of “deliberately prolonging their plight” in Saudi Arabia. They also challenged the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to immediately repatriate more than 30 Filipina workers still in the cudgels of their “notorious” employer.

In a press conference at the OWWA office in Pasay City, repatriated workers of the multi-million Annasban Company assembled to kick out Nestor Burayag from his duty as Welfare Officer in charge of the Repatriation and Assistance Division in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“Dahil kay Burayag, umabot ng halos limanng buwan ang aming pagdurusa. Sa halip na kami ay tulungan, lalo lamang niyang pinatitindi ang paghihirap na dinadanas namin sa kamay ng Annasban. At hanggang sa ngayon, ganito pa rin ang kanyang ginagawa sa mahigit 30 kababayan nating kababaihan na ipiniit ng aming employer. Wala siyang silbi sa amin. Dapat na siyang alisin ng OWWA sa pwesto kung totoong nais nilang makatulong sa mga OFW,” exclaimed Eppie Bellarma, one of the workers who lead a work stoppage in protest of their employer’s gross contract violations.

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The OFWs pointed out Burayag’s offenses as: 1) delaying the process of repatriation by not securing the exit visas with the Annasban management, 2) not providing supplies of food, water and medicine which results to OFWs hunger and sickness, 3) forcing the OFWs to pay 2,500-6,500 Saudi riyal for repatriation, instead of demanding the Annasban to waive deployment costs, shoulder air tickets and pay compensation for violating contracts, and 4) convincing the workers to stop their protest and go back to work.

Also present in the protest assembly were repatriated workers who got seriously ill in Saudi but were not given medical attention by Burayag. Leonor Agorilla acquired herpes zoster and requested immediate repatriation, but Burayag instead questioned her basis as not being sufficient. Another OFW got highly traumatized while still in Saudi and is now undergoing psychiatric treatment.

Meanwhile, Migrante International slammed OWWA for not seriously taking its call to reprimand Annasban and push for the deployment ban of Filipinos to the company.

“OWWA knows very well the notorious labor practice of Annasban. This has been going on for years and until now Administrator Dimzon has not done any move to prevent our kababayans from falling prey to Annasban. She should begin with investigating the ill conduct of Burayag and immediately submit recommendations to POEA to ban Annasban,” said Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante.

After the assembly and press conference, Migrante and the OFWs submitted their formal complaint against Mr. Burayag and said that they are seriously considering bringing the case to the Office of the Ombudsman. (

Reference: Garry Martinez, Chaireprson

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