Sunday, December 7, 2008

7 distress OFWs' wish: to be home this Christmas

Press Release
6 December 2008

7 distress OFWs' wish: to be home this Christmas

For OFWs continuously working straight for 36 months without vacation, though they have already completed 24-months employment contract, there is no other wish they have this Christmas- to be home and re-united again with their loved ones back home.

"To be home this Christmas is the simple wish we have heard from the seven (7) OFWs who have decided to stop their work last November 1," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle east regional coordinator.

Monterona said the seven (7) OFWs working for Annasban, a local out-sourcing company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, have sought assistance from the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS), a member-organization of Migrante based in Riyadh as they have run out of money for their daily subsistence.

On his letter to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh, Mario Ben, KGS-Migrante Chairperson said the seven (7) OFWs have already completed their 24-months employment contract and in fact extended their work for 1 year.

"The seven (7) OFWs were forced to stop their work on November 1, as they've have realized that their company would not give them their vacation despite numerous requests," Mario Ben added.


Jeanette Belino, one of the seven OFWs, said she had already completed her 24-months contract last April 2008. Prior to completion of her contract, she had already informed her company that she will resign from work upon completion of her contract, but was not granted by the company and were forced to work until she had decided to stop working on November 1, 2008.

"I have spoken to OFW Belino over the phone and she confirmed that along with the other 6 distress OFWs, they are asking Migrante's assistance as they have no money at all for their daily subsistence," Monterona said.

Monterona said Migrante chapter in Riyadh could only provide little amount for the 7 distress OFWs' daily subsistence. "Their immediate repatriation would be the ultimate solution to their problem, after all they have already completed their contract," he added.

The OFW leader said entitlements such as the end of service fee or gratuity, free air fare tickets, and payment for their overtime work should be given to them by their employer.

"We don't see any reason at all that their immediate repatriation will be delayed because on the very provision of their contract they are entitled for a vacation upon completion of their contract, and the Saudi Labor law is very clear that entitlement such as end of service fee and free air fare tickets must be at the employer's cost," Monterona averred.

Mario Ben and Monterona are calling the POLO officials in Riyadh to immediately act on the problem of the 7 distress OFWs who are now staying on the company-provided accommodation in Jaradiyah, Riyadh.

Migrante-ME is also calling all the Local government units (LGUs) specifically the City government of Baguio through its Public Employment Services Office (PESO) to be wary of sending would-be OFWs to Annasban company or other company as many of OFWs deployed were having the same labor-related problems with Annasban.

"The Arroyo administration in conduit with the local government units should stop sending OFWs on a large scale without guarantee that OFWs rights and welfare will be protected and safeguarded abroad. Its labor export policy must be stopped and should give emphasis on creating jobs locally." Monterona added.

"Jobs creation locally with decent wages is the best solution to the problem of retrenchment of OFWs working abroad due to global economic recession. But Mrs. Arroyo's economic policies are subservient to imperialist's neo-liberal policies of globalization in which the interests of businesses and profit is given priority over the welfare and rights of the people," Monterona ended.

(Note: OFW Jeanette Belino, one of the 7 distress OFWs, mobile number is 00966 506726489 for interview).

For references:

OFW Jeanette Belino, one of the 7 distressed OFWs,
Mobile No.+966 506726489

Mario Ben
Chairperson, Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS) Migrante chapter, Riyadh
Mobile No. 00966 502980129

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East Regional Coordinator,
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice-Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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