Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Stranded must go home! Gloria must go down!

Stranded OFWs in Jeddah must go home! Gloria must go down! - Migrante ME

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers organizations in the Middle East have renewed its call for our Philippine Embassy and Consular Officials based in Jeddah to facilitate, without delay, the repatriation of stranded OFWs who were brought to deportation centers last month.

"We have received information from our Migrante chapter based in Jeddah that the 220 stranded and distressed OFWs are still inside the hell-liked deportation center. After they have been promised by Consul general Ezzadin Tago to go for the legal process so that they can be immediately send home, to our surprised until now the 220 OFWs, including a mother and her sick son are still at the deportation center," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East regional coordinator.

Migrante chapter in Jeddah said that there are 102 male OFWs inside the Investigation area, cell number 1 at Jeddah deportation center. It includes the 7 OFWs out of the 24 OFWs who have accepted the promised of Congen Tago and the 72 who camped out inside the Philippine Consulate who were earlier promised again by Congen Tago to avail the legal process so that they can be immediately repatriated.

Migrante said further that what is upsetting them is that the growing numbers of women OFWs numbering to 40, where the 12 of them were brought to other places like Riyadh , Gassim and Abha, for whatever reasons only our embassy and consular official knew.

Migrante lambasted Congen Tago for its false promises of immediate repatriation once the stranded OFWs would accept the legal process by enlisting themselves to go inside the deportation center so that they can be immediately repatriated.

"Congen Tago should stop making false assurances to the stranded OFWs to go for legal process so that they could be immediately repatriated; this is not the case and what will happen is actually a long wait until all formalities have been completed including getting exit visa from their respective employers and airfare ticket in which our government can't willingly spend for our stranded OFWs; once the stranded surrendered his self for the legal process, he will be detained inside the deportation center without clear assurance when he will be repatriated," Monterona added.

"We sympathize with our stranded OFWs awful situation inside the deportation center as everyday they keep on sending short messages to us and complaining about their worsening situations as some of them are now sick including the 1-year old son of Sarah Manukat with cough due to cold and there is not enough medicines to take and food are so scarce that others were fighting with other stranded nationals just to get their share of meal," Monterona added.

"Where's the help and assistance from our Philippine embassy and Consular Officials whose very mandate is to assist and help OFWs especially those in distressed like the stranded in the deportation center in Jeddah," Monterona added..

Migrante said that the case of stranded OFWs in Jeddah has been referred to their attention since November of last year. "Mrs. Arroyo and DFA Secretary were made aware of this case by Migrante International case officers during dialogues at DFA Main Office, but it seems that they are dilly-dallying or not concerned in solving this problem by acting what is the rightful thing to do, and that is through diplomatic channels," Monterona added.

"Once again, the Arroyo government is showing no heart to the worsening plight of our stranded and distressed OFWs in foreign country. If we can't get the attention and assistance we are supposed to get from the most corrupt and anti-OFW Arroyo government, we are now preparing a letter to ask the help of the International community by submitting this case to the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the human rights of migrants," Monterona added.

Migrante's Monterona further said that the Arroyo government including all her political minions, outside and inside the bureaucracy especial mentioned the head DFA, DoLE, POEA and OWWA should go for values formation with the hope that they could have a kind heart to OFWs and be enlightened not to steal, to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, and to learn how to pay respect to others especially the livelihood and lives of others.

"A corrupt and most anti-OFW government does not deserve the support, thrust and obedience from its people especially from us, OFWs who are long been neglected, deprived of government services, but heavily burdened by various state exactions and other fees and often victims of unscrupulous recruiters and errant foreign employers," Monterona ended.

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona - Regional Coordinator
Migrante Middle East
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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