3 February 2009
Mrs. Arroyo trying hard to sell out millions of unemployed in pretense of OFWs rights and welfare – Migrante-ME
An alliance of Overseas Filipino workers' organizations based in the Middle East today said Mrs. Arroyo is trying hard to sell out millions of unemployed Filipino workers abroad in pretense of protecting OFWs rights and welfare.
"We deplore Mrs. Arroyo pretending to be protecting the rights of OFWs abroad while at the same time selling out millions of unemployed workers abroad but in fact have not concluded any genuine labor rights pact with any host government in the Middle East that would protect the rights and welfare of OFWs," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona said Mrs. Arroyo's today's visit to Bahrain reportedly to discuss rights and at the same time looking for job opportunities for Filipinos is naught and just a waste of tax payers' money, which should be better used to bail out thousands of terminated OFWs and local workers back home.
"OFWs, who are contributing much to the Philippine economy through their billions of remittances, are unfortunate enough to have a leader who is not at all concerned to their deplorable plight, but who is only good looking after their remittances, thus it keeps on peddling OFWs even if it knows it is to the detriment of OFWs and their families," Monterona added.
Monterona cited the case of OFW Ryan Anievas who was accused of distributing fake money in Saudi Arabia. Anievas sought assistance to Philippine Consul General Ezzadin Tago in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia only to be told that it cannot hire a lawyer for him.
"Even a simple request of an OFW who was accused of distributing fake money in Saudi Arabia to provide him a lawyer was rejected by the Philippine Consulate General in Saudi Arabia simply saying that it can't hire a lawyer in defense of the beleaguered OFW. OFWs and their families deserve a better government than the Arroyo administration," Monterona averred.
Monterona added the employer of OFW Anievas did not renew his employment contract that ended on 31 January 2009.
The Filipino community in Saudi Arabia through their organizations and Migrante-Saudi Arabia chapter spearheaded an on-line signature campaign dubbed '"Saving Kabayan Ryan" to press hard Mrs. Arroyo to instruct the DFA to hire a lawyer for OFW Anievas.
Monterona said OFW Anievas trial is schedule on February 17, 2009. He is temporarily seeking refuge on her friend's house. Anievas decided to send back his wife and baby to the Philippines last week because of his predicament.
Migrante-ME said the many unattended cases of distress OFWs in the Middle East and other countries is a manifestation that the Arroyo administration is remiss on its responsibility to the sector keeping the economy afloat.
"This led us to conclude that Mrs. Arroyo has no moral authority to discuss OFWs rights and welfare on her visit to Bahrain because the government under her administration is not actually providing mechanism for OFWs right protection and welfare," Monterona added.
Migrante-ME said they are in solidarity of OFWs in Bahrain in condemning the Arroyo administration.
"We do hope that no OFW would throw its shoes to the president during her naught visit in Bahrain today. Just a silent protest to show OFWs disgust to her administration would be fine" Monterona added. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012