In keeping with the spirit of Lent, the "bayanihan" spirit was alive and well in Dubai as Filipinos pitch in canned goods, water, toiletries, and other food items to help 137 bus drivers stranded and looking for jobs after being deployed there by a licensed recruitment agency.
The stranded drivers were overwhelmed by the show of hospitality and generosity by Filipino community leaders who traveled in a convoy on Good Friday and Black Saturday. According to Ares Gutierrez, sub-editor of XPRESS, the Dubai-based paper that broke the story about the stranded bus drivers, most of the victims were confused as to what they should do next.
One of the drivers, Claro Oliver of Rizal province, contacted the
Former labor undersecretary Susan Ople, who heads the
The bus drivers, nearly half of who hail from the
The plight of the 137 bus drivers were first exposed by Filipino journalists
Aside from lack of food, the drivers were sharing living quarters near the
According to the drivers, they paid as much as P150,000 to CYM International Services in exchange for jobs at RTA. Some of the drivers have been staying in
Based on interviews with XPRESS, driver Max Sumulong, 34, one of the victims, said last year CYM had offered him a job as a driver for Dh5,200 a month and he had given the agency 10,000 pesos (Dh1,000) as "processing fee".
The stranded bus drivers are hoping that the Philippine Consulate can help them look for jobs in
Ople said she is awaiting documents from the bus drivers that would help speed up the POEA's investigation into the alleged illegal recruitment practices of CYM International Services and its counterpart in
The former labor undersecretary also hoped that the 137 drivers would be able to meet President Arroyo, Vice-President Noli de Castro and other high-ranking officials in their visit to