03 November 2010
“More than 100,000 already viewed the YouTube clip and indignation was the overwhelming response of most viewers. In one afternoon alone, we gathered more than 4,000 signatures. The OFWs and the people have spoken and this is what we wish to deliver: Recall Salud Now!”
This was declared today by Eman Villanueva, secretary general of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK) as the group held a picket protest at the Philippine Consulate General to demand action against Labor Attaché Romulo Salud for verbal abuse against an OFW and neglect of OFW rights and welfare.
The demand followed after a recorded message between Labatt Salud and OFW Agnes Tenorio exposed the former berating the latter who came to his office to seek assistance to file monetary claims against her former employer. Labatt Salud was quoted in a raised voice as saying that it was his right whether he will accept her or not.
“As soon as we got wind of wind of this case, we immediately wrote to DoLE and asked for an immediate action. While we welcome Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz’ announcement of a department investigation, we cannot help but be worried how this probe will be conducted given the recent statements of Baldoz that could be interpreted as absolving Salud,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva reported that Secretary Baldoz was quoted as saying that “If people want to blow this out of proportion, it’s their call. Hindi kami pwedeng padalos-dalos dahil tao rin namin yan. The fact is naayos agad ang repatriation ticket hindi madaling gawan ng paraan yun. Marami rin silang (labor staff) natutulungan I suppose”.
“We felt that such opinion was improper and worrisome given that she is the boss of the department conducting the probe. We feared that such could imperil the credibility of the inquiry. We already wrote to her office again and are hoping that she’ll respond as soon as possible,” he relayed.
Villanueva said that the DoLE chief should desist from making such statements lest it unduly influence the investigation. He added that the transparency and independence of the investigation should be ensured.
“This is a departmental investigation and the statements of Secretary Baldoz do not allay our fears and worries. At the very least, Labatt Salud should be suspended during the investigation to prevent his use of his office and its resources to impact the integrity of the probe,” Villanueva added.
Finally, the group called on to the Congress, Senate, Vice President Jejomar Binay and even President Noynoy Aquino to look into Tenorio’s case and the whole condition of service delivery of the government to OFWs.
“Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party has called for a congressional inquiry to be conducted as soon as session resumes next week. This should be supported and pushed through. At the core of this issue is the neglect of a government official to an OFW in need. His grave abuse of authority should not go unpunished and we expect the PCG-HK, DoLE and Malacañang to do no less for Tenorio and all aggrieved Filipino migrant workers,” Villanueva concluded. (Bulatlat.com)