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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

OFW rights group re-iterates calls to address rampant contract substitution victimizing OFWs in the Middle-east



Press Release



Worried over the swelling up of contract substitutions cases victimizing OFWs deployed in the Middle East, an alliance of OFW rights group today calls on the Department of Labor and Employment and its Overseas labor offices to address the rampant cases of contract substitutions victimizing OFWs.


“Contract substitution has been a recurring problem encountered by OFWs especially those deployed in the Middle East, we wonder why until now the Labor Department and its Overseas Labor offices could not solve this,” asked John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.


Monterona said contract substitution occurs when the deployed OFW upon arrival to the job site will be forced to sign a new contract by his or her employer with different terms and conditions from the originally signed contract that was facilitated by the local recruitment agency in the Philippines.


“On our records of cases, 5 out of the average 8 cases recorded daily are about contract substitution and violation consciously committed by the employers, it is worsening because victims are now by group collectively complaining against their employer about contract substitution,” Monterona added.


Monterona said an OFW will feel bad if at the end of the month he would received a lower salary compared to what is stipulated on the original contract he has signed.


“Aside from a lowered the salary, OFWs victim of contract substitution normally complaints of non-payment of overtime work, no medicare or health card which is to be provided by the employer, some complained of unexplained salary deductions, among others,” Monterona added.


Monterona cited the recently reported case of the 84 OFWs who are working as cleaners in the United Arab Emirates after their employer abandoned them without food and water.

“The case of 84 Pinay cleaners in the UAE is in addition to the already long lists of contract violations we have monitored numbering to little less than 3,000 already from January to September of this year alone, aside from the lists of cases from previous years which some are not yet resolved,” Monterona claimed.


Monterona further said there is something wrong in the system of the deployment of OFWs from processing the required formalities between the recruitment agencies and the POEA and the Philippine overseas Labor office (POLO) that approved the job orders to actual deployment of OFWs.


“It appears from our initial investigation that the contract signed by the OFW while he is still in the Philippines is only for formality purposes -for his registration to the POEA as hired workers facilitated by the recruitment agency; the recruitment agency representing the prospective foreign employers,” Monterona added.


Monterona said the role of the recruitment agencies in contract substitution cases must be thoroughly investigated by the DoLE-POEA and by the Philippine Congress.

“The inept Labor attaché on contract substitution cases must also be investigated, because it is on his jurisdiction and duty to protect the labor rights of our deployed OFWs against the malpractices of the employer including contract substitution and violations,” Monterona added.


“For this purpose, we are calling the Senate Labor committee and the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation and in crafting appropriate measures or policy, so that this highly irregular, illegal contract substitution would be prevented,” Monterona ended. # # #



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