Letter to the Editor
16 February 2011
Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) was the first to raise serious concern on the safety of our fellow OFWs working and living in Egypt when the peace and order situation there had worsen due to massive streets protest by the Egyptian people demanding the ouster of Egyptian president Husni Mubarak, who had been in power for more than 30 long years.
We said on our January 29 issued statement that the volatile political situation in Egypt marred by massive rallies staged by thousands of discontented Egyptian protesters demands a closer look and serious concerns on the part of the Aquino administration as there are a considerable numbers of OFWs working in Egypt.
Specifically, on the same statement, we called on the Aquino government to bare its contingency plan to ensure the safety of our OFWs as we are seeing then that the political situation in Egypt is worsening and protests actions have escalated resulting to the death of more than a hundred protesters.
We are pleased that the Aquino government and the concerned government agencies heeded on our call, amid repeated calls from Migrante and various OFWs organizations -to bare its contingency plan and not to waste time securing the safety of OFWs in Egypt.
Three batches of OFWs were repatriated from Egypt, until we heard the news that Muburak had already stepped down and fled away from his throne.
But it seems that the Tunisian and Egyptian ‘revolutions’ are contagious sweeping other Arab states. In Jordan, its political dissenters are demanding the ouster of its prime minister. Yesterday, in Bahrain, thousands of Bahraini protesters gathered in its capital ‘Main square’ calling for political reforms and greater political freedom. There are about 30,000 OFWs working in Bahrain.
We could only hope that the Arab peoples’ popular discontent would not reached Saudi Arabia, where there are about 10-M migrant workers. While, there are about 1.2-M OFWs working in Saudi Arabia.
Under adverse uncertainties while political events unfold in Arab states, it is but wise and prudent on the part of the Aquino government that as early as this time, it must prepare standing contingency plans to secure the safety of more than a million OFWs working in Saudi Arabia and nearby Arab countries. It is not easy, for instance, to evacuate the 1.2-M OFWs in Saudi Arabia.
May kasabihan nga tayong mga Pinoy: “Daig ng maagap ang masipag.”
JOHN LEONARD MONTERONA (signed)