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Thursday, March 17, 2011

FW: 16 Mar.2011 Press Release: OFWs in strife-torn Bahrain, Yemen undecided over voluntary repatriation


“It will be hard for OFWs to leave their work even under adverse situation,” thus said today by an alliance of Filipino migrant rights group in the Middle East.


John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator who is a Saudi-based OFW said: “OFWs need jobs that offered relatively higher salary compared to what they would be receiving for a contractual job in the Philippines. In fact, jobs scarcity pushes us to find work overseas amid worsening economic situation in the Philippines.”


Yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued an advisory raising the alert level in strife-torn Bahrain to level 2 (restriction of movement) from alert level 1 (heightened alertness). It also urged OFWs to voluntarily leave Bahrain amid the worsening peace and order situation.


“It’s not that easy to leave our work here; where I would get money to survive my family in the Philippines,” said Myra A. Segundo, an OFW in Bahrain.


Another OFW, who requested anonymity, conveyed to Monterona during phone conversation yesterday evening that he is worried if the peace and order situation in Bahrain becomes worse just like what happened in Libya, “I could not yet decide if I will go home or not, but for now I think of how I could continue earn a living for my children in the Philippines,” the OFW added.


Monterona recalled that last week the travel ban imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) sometime on February 21 has been lifted citing the assessment on the peace and order issued by PH embassy in Bahrain.


Few weeks since the travel ban to Bahrain had been imposed, many returning OFWs have demanded to President Aquino to lift the travel ban so that they could return to work. Some of the returning OFWs claimed they were given an ultimatum by their employers to return for work, otherwise they’ll be fired.


Monterona opined the call to voluntarily leave Bahrain or even in Yemen by the PH govt. will not be heeded on, at least for now, by our fellow OFWs knowing fully that by doing so they would end jobless back in the Philippines amid soaring prices of oil products, goods and services.


“The Aquino govt. must seriously focus on local jobs creation, jobs that offer decent pay and fair employment package so that OFWs will be encourage to work back in the homeland,” Monterona averred.


He said creating jobs would entail getting away from the conventional tenets of neo-liberal economic policies.


“Pres. Aquino is facing a tall challenge of implementing genuine agrarian reform program and nationalization of basic industries that will serve as our economic backbone and foundation towards the desired economic development,” Monterona ended. # # #



John Leonard Monterona

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator

Mobile No.: 00966 535 921228








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