30 November 2008
Migrant group said HB No. 5461 OK, to lobby its immediate approval in Congress
An alliance of overseas Filipino workers' organizations in the Middle East today said it will support House Bill No. 5461 authored by Rep. Cynthia Villar seeking to penalize inept government officials in consular, labor, and welfare services who fail or refuse to give assistance to Filipino migrant workers.
"The intent and wisdom of the bill is for the welfare and assistance of our fellow OFWs who are victims of their abusive employers. Thus, we urge fellow OFWs to extend support for the immediate passage of HB-5461 into law," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME regional coordinator.
The OFW leader said his group is glad to know that Rep. Cynthia Villar recognizes the worsening plight of our OFWs especially domestic helpers and construction workers who continue to suffer under their abusive employers, inhuman working conditions, and various human rights violations.
"The continued neglect and inaction by Philippine officials who are duty-bound to provide assistance to distress and run away OFWs adds an insult to the deplorable conditions of our OFWs who are usually forced to do dirty, dangerous and de-humanizing (3D) jobs to earn a living for their families back home," Monterona continued.
Monterona said with almost a thousand OFWs cases reported to their attention and assistance this year, the concerned government agencies must deploy additional trained support personnel to beef up its staff providing labor and welfare services.
Migrante-ME said part of its lobbying activities is to send letter to all members of the Congress, both in the Senate and Lower House, urging our solons to support and vote for the immediate passage of HB No. 5461.
"We will urge our members to send a letter to their respective Congressmen to lobby for the passage of HB No. 5461, while Migrante chapters' officers in the Middle East will send lobby letter to members of the Senate," Monterona explained.
Monterona said his group is hoping that it could get the support of members of the Congress as many as they could so that HB No. 5461 would become a law that would remind our govt. officials abroad to do their duty diligently, with pride and fulfillment in helping distress OFWs abroad.
"There is joy and fulfillment in helping others", Monterona averred.
Migrante-Middle East chapters are also preparing to launch a campaign dubbed as 'BANTAY EMBAHADA' to properly documents complaints and look after those inept consular, labor, and welfare officials who fail or refuse to give assistance to distress OFWs.
Migrante-ME ended saying if only the Arroyo administration is sincere in providing genuine welfare services and protection programs to OFW, while shifting its economic policies towards nationalization of basic industries and implementation of genuine agrarian reform program that will boost the Philippine economy capable of generating local jobs, no Filipino then will be forced to leave the country to earn a living for his family. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012