25 July 2010
More than 20 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deployed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia have sent their appeal letter address to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, a day before his First State of the nation Address (SONA), pleading for help as they have been victims of their employer’s labor malpractice and inhumane treatment.
John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said that on 22 July, more than 20 distress OFWs have sought assistance from the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS), member organization of Migrante-Middle East.
“Our KGS-Migrante officers headed by KGS Secretary-General Mike Garlan have met the distress OFWs on July 22 upon their request for assistance as they have been subjected to various labor malpractices by their employer,” Monterona added.
The distress OFWs have been deployed early this year by batches during the first quarter of this year, while others have already been working for about a year.
They are working for Nuzha Project Group, a Riyadh-based contracting company.
“They were deployed by 3 different recruitment agencies in the Philippines such as Wavex agency, Real World agency, and World Production International Manpower Corporation, as mentioned on their signed letter, a copy of which was given to KGS-Migrante,” said Garlan.
On their signed handwritten letter address to President Aquino, the distress OFWs said that they are not paid of their salaries, working more than 8 hours and yet their employer is not paying overtime pay, no health card or medical insurance, poor and unsanitary accommodations, among other complaints.
The distress workers also allege that their respective recruitment agency in the Philippines have issued fake documents such as employment contract and expired work visa, that put their status at risks upon arrival to the job site.
“They told us that they have been forced to sign a new employment contract which terms and conditions are different from the original employment contract they have signed in the Philippines facilitated by their recruitment agencies,” Garlan added.
KGS-Migrante will be officially endorsing their case to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh and will be having a case dialogue on July 30.
Monterona, on his part, said the distress OFWs are clear victims of labor malpractices, not only by their employer but also by their recruiters in the Philippines that deployed them. “It’s like a double whammy!” he exclaimed.
Monterona added these are the same cases of labor malpractices, abuses, maltreatment, lack of on-site services and welfare programs, recipient of numerous unnecessary government fees and charges, among many other OFWs concerns, we would like to convey to Pres. Aquino so that he may do something about it.
“On his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) Migrante chapters in the Middle East challenge Pres. Aquino III to re-iterates his previous marching orders and directives during his inauguration, but this time he should make it clear, bold and specific what actions to take such as providing more on-site services and protection for OFWs abroad, lowering or scrapping of unnecessary fees and charges imposed to OFWs by the government, among many others,” Monterona ended.
?John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator?