“Establish a monitoring system on the conduct of government officials in exercising their functions as mandated by the law and other related memoranda, circulars, executive and department orders,” the Migrante agenda read. This is in response to the incompetence and apathy of some Philippine embassy officials. Recently, an OFW in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was seeking the help of the welfare officer in the embassy. But instead of coming up with a plan to rescue her from the company villa, the OFW was advised to jump from the third floor of the building.
Migrante also challenged the Aquino administration to establish a special court that could accommodate complaints filed against abusive employers, recruitment agencies, and embassy officials .
Protection and Bilateral Agreements
The Aquino administration should also work for the legalization and protection of the rights of undocumented Filipino migrant workers. Migrante said this has become urgent because of the enactment of tougher and harsher immigrant laws in receiving countries, especially in the aftermath of the economic crisis.
Special protection should also be given to migrant women and minors, Migrante said, because of the numerous cases of abuse, rape and maltreatment of women and minors, especially in the Middle East. Migrante is also proposing for the establishment of additional safe shelters for women and minors with in-house social workers, doctors, psychiatrists to cater to the needs of victim-OFWs.
Not only do these victims need to be repatriated, but their cases must also be investigated by an independent body, Migrante said. The investigation should not only look into the culpability of erring recruitment agencies but government officials as well.
To ensure the institution of laws and policies protecting OFWs, Migrante challenged Aquino to forge bilateral agreements with receiving countries. They cited in their 10-Point Migrants Challenge that Saudi Arabia remains to be the top destination for OFWs over the years but there is still no bilateral agreement that could protect and help OFWs in distress. As a result, Saudi has the most number of reported cases of abuse, contract substitution and even rape.
If the Aquino government is able to forge a bilateral agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it would give protection to roughly 1.5 million Filipinos working in the Kingdom.
Lastly, there is a need to to have a genuine migrants’ representation in decision-making bodies of the government. Such migrants representation will work closely with people’s organizations that advocate for pro-migrant policies.
“Now is the time for him to prove his electoral campaign propaganda of ending corruption,” Martinez said. (Bulatlat.com) <