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Monday, October 11, 2010

Distress: OFWs in Jordan staged protest


57 distress OFWs in Jordan threaten to stage protest anew, migrant group calls on RP post to attend their repatriation


After getting the report confirmed about 57 distress OFWs who have staged a protest last Saturday inside the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) managed by the Philippine Embassy in Amman, Jordan, an alliance of Filipino migrant rights group in the Middle East calls on the concerned RP embassy officials to closely follow the cases of the 57 OFWs so that they could be repatriated without further delay.


Migrante-Middle east regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said he was able to talk with a Philippine Embassy staffer, who has requested not to be named, confirming that on Saturday the 57 distress women OFWs initiated a protest action by throwing their belongings inside the FWRC.


“The 57 distress OFWs have been staying for quite some time inside the FWRC after they run away from their employers who claimed that they have been abused and maltreated; since they have sought refuge at the RP post’s resource center,” Monterona said.


Monterona said he was able to talked to OFW Rita (not her real name) over the phone yesterday and confirmed that they started their protest last Saturday in the afternoon as they became too impatient for their repatriation, “most of us have been staying for more than 6 months and other nearly year at the FWRC,” OFW Rita told Monterona.


“After throwing their belongings, the distress women OFWs have attempted to go out of the FWRC building, trying to get the attention of the local immigration police, by doing so they are hoping that the latter would apprehend them and then sent them to the immigration office for deportation,” Monterona added.


Monterona said during his conversation with OFW Rita it was found out that they have agreed to submit their case to Jordan government special committee which will investigate their respective cases. 


“But it is taking time, kaya nai-inip na itong ating mga distress OFWs. They threatened to stage a hunger strike if their calls will be ignored by the RP officials in Jordan,” Monterona claimed.


Monterona suggested in cases like these involving a considerable numbers of distress OFWs, the DoLE through the Philippine Overseas Labor Attache’ must consider talking to his counterpart of the host government to come up with diplomatic solutions that would benefits both parties.


“These are not simply cases of breach of the host government immigration law; the 57 distress OFWs ran away to escape from their employer’s abuses and maltreatment, running away is the only option that they have,” Monterona averred.


“We are urging the RP Embassy and the POLO in Jordan to push for the resolution of their cases. For sure the 57 distress OFWs are longing that they would celebrate Christmas and could start a brand new life in the new year to come,” Monterona added. 


Monterona is also calling on the attention of the OWWA to provide the needed airfare tickets for the 57 distress OFWs as well as for those stranded and distress in various Filipino Workers Resource Centers in the Middle East especially in Saudi Arabia.


“The thousands distress and stranded OFWs in the Middle East are still waiting in vain the promised assistance from the Aquino administration, but since it slashed the government budget for the assistance to the nationals and legal assistance fund, we are worried that it could not fulfill its promises for OFWs protection and better on-site services,” Monterona ended. 


Based on Migrante’s conservative estimates there are still more than 3,000 stranded and distress OFWs staying in various resource centers managed by the different RP posts in the Middle East.


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