A chapter of an alliance of overseas Filipino migrant workers in the Middle East today deplores the Philippine labor and welfare mission based in the Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia for sleeping on the numerous cases of distress OFWs referred for their attention and action.
Migrante-Saudi Arabia said it is very disappointing that labor and welfare-related cases of several distress OFWs including a case of mysterious death that were referred to the attention of Philippine Overseas Labor Office and OWWA (POLO-OWWA ERO) in the Eastern region have not been acted until now.
"Our fellow OFWs especially those who are in distress deserves full attention and assistance to their cases especially if their rights are being violated by their employers; not just lip-service from the RP post that is duty bound to provide assistance for distress OFWs," said John Torres, Migrante-KSA spokesperson.
Torres said Migrante-Al Khobar and Migrante-Jubail chapters have been receiving complaints from distress OFWs and their plea for assistance just fall on deaf ears of POLO-OWWA officials in the Eastern region despite numerous calls and emails for their appropriate action.
Torres said the Labor official who heads the POLO-OWWA in the Eastern Region is on his official leave since last week of December 2009 and Migrante-Al Khobar chapter was informed that he will be back on the 2nd week of January 2010.
"Without their boss, we have observed that several staff of the POLO-OWWA in the Eastern region are only "sleeping" in their offices," Torres continued and likened the situation from a popular proverb "if the cat is away, the mouse will play."
Migrante-KSA estimates there are almost 400,000 OFWs in the Eastern Region including those undocumented OFWs.
On his part, Rodel Makalintal, Migrante-KSA Campaign & Media officer said since the bulk of the numbers of OFWs are from the Eastern region, it is but imperative for the RP labor and welfare mission to double their efforts in providing assistance to the increasing numbers of distress and run away OFWs in the Eastern region.
"Migrante-KSA is in fact supporting the plan of the RP posts in Saudi Arabia to deploy additional labor and welfare staff so that they could attend on the increasing numbers of OFWs cases," Makalintal added.
Migrante-Middle East maintains that it is receiving an average of 3-5 cases daily covering the GCC countries.