Endorsing cases on an average of seven to 10 daily to various Philippine posts in the Middle East, an alliance of Filipino migrants rights group today strongly urges the Aquino III government to put an end, if not, lessen the incidence of OFWs abuses and maltreatment in the Middle East.
“It seems that the rampant cases of OFWs abuses and maltreatment is already a norm and part of the risks of working abroad, but we can do better about it,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona said governments, sending and receiving, play an important role in providing protection to migrant workers' well being, rights and welfare.
He cited the government-to-government scheme of sending migrant workers wherein both the sending and host governments are one in providing protection to OFWs.
“When the first batch and succeeding batches of Filipino workers have been deployed in Saudi Arabia way back on the late 1970's and early 1980's, it was on a government-to-government arrangement, that time there is no room for abuses and maltreatment against Filipino workers as both governments were committed to respect the rights and welfare of the workers,” Monterona said.
He said OFWs situations in the Middle East comes to worst when the Philippine government started to implement a deregulated labor export program, sending Filipino workers abroad by allowing the entry of private recruitment agencies in a pre-arranged deployment with local counterpart agents in the host country.
Monterona added the highly deregulated exportation of human labor, in essence, is passing government responsibility to protect its deployed workers to the recruitment agencies and its local counterparts in the host countries.
“It goes without saying that business interests of the government on exporting labor and of the private recruiters are much important than protecting the rights and welfare of OFWs; we vehemently oppose to such self-serving view,” Monterona averred.
He added: “Since then, lip service and broken promises of protection to OFWs by succeeding governments became the norm.”
The Saudi-based Migrante leader finally said: “P-Noy may not want to become the 1st ever President to be hailed as “OFWs' Defender” by side-stepping the 'challenge' of providing protection to OFWs' well-being, rights and welfare; he instead appointed Vice-President Jejomar Binay as presidential adviser on OFWs concerns.” # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 978 012