"The Arroyo administration, once again, has allowed notorious employers and recruiters off the hook by merely negotiating for the repatriation of distressed OFWs without them receiving any just compensation."
This was the claim made by Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International.
The group revealed that OWWA and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh has recently brokered a deal with Annasban Company to send more than 80 OFWS on a hunger strike back home without paying for their compensation. Complaints of delayed salaries and deplorable working conditions were reasons for the strike.
"Why in the world will labor attache Rustico de la Fuente broker such a deal? Why send those OFWs home penniless and cheated out of their just compensation? Sila na nga ang nadehado at inabuso, tapos palulusutin lang ang Annasban?" Martinez questioned. "There is more than meets the eye here and this must be investigated at once!"
Martinez explained that the workers should get the full payment for the unexpired portion of their contracts including compensation for forcibly detaining them and other forms of maltreatment.
The migrant leader notes that that this is not the first time that the government has allowed or worked for the repatriation of distressed OFWs without just compensation. "In fact, we believe that this government, as it has proven time and again that it will wilfully sacrifice its citizens for money, has made unscrupulous and exploitative recruiters and employers even more bolder in exploiting and abusing our kababayans," Martinez continued.
"This is a disturbing trend. Coming home penniless after being indebted to pay for the recruitment process is clearly an additional injustice to OFWs like the workers in Annasban Company," Martinez concluded.
The group reiterated that Annasban Company be banned forever from recruiting Filipinos and an investigation be held on recruiters and government officials, such as Labor Attaché Rustico de la Fuente, who facilitated the lifting of the suspension order against the said company.