11 March 2009
As Victims of Arroyo-sponsored human smuggling
85 OFWs sent to Doha with fake contract
An alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations based in the Middle East today said there are an estimated 85 OFWs who were sent to Doha by a recruitment agency in the Philippines using fake employment contract.
“’One of the 85 OFWs working for Woolim Company has lodged a complaint to POLO-OWWA in Doha due to the inhumane treatment by their employer, forcing them to work for more than 8 hours a day, no day off, non payment of overtime work, and unjustified deductions on their salary who later found out that their employment contract is fake,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME regional coordinator.
Woolim Company is a Korean company serving as a sub-contractor for Hyundai Engineering on its RAPO project in Ras Laffan area that employs 160 workers; an estimated 85 OFWs are presently employed by Woolim Co.
Monterona said 16 of the 85 OFWs have sent him a copy of their signed letter address to the Labor Department of Qatar Ministry of Civil Affairs complaining on their deplorable working condition and the inhumane treatment by their employer.
“One of them had asked our Migrante chapter in Qatar for assistance; we have advised them to file an appropriate complaint first at the POLO-OWWA so that they too could give them assistance and proper representation once they have formally filed their case with Qatar Labor department,” Monterona added.
Monterona said the OFW complainant representing his other 84 companions, presented their case to Welfare Officer Hector Cruz in Doha showing to the latter videos taken from their camp site proving their deplorable condition. “The complainant likewise showed his overseas employment-related documents to the OWWA staff,” he added.
“Upon verification of his employment contract by the OWWA officer, it was found out his contract is fake,” Monterona added.
The OWWA officer said it is fake contract because it does not have the signature of the Philippine Overseas Labor Official in Qatar, though stamped on it is the POLO seal but it does not have an Arabic translation.
Most of the 85 OFWs were placed by Bataguenio Human Resources located at Ermita, Manila.
“Based on what WelOf Hector Cruz had found out that theirs is a fake employment contract, it is no doubt that the 85 OFWs hired by Woolim Company in Qatar are victims of human smuggling,” Monterona averred.
Monterona asked if the 85 OFWs are victims of human smuggling, who then are its human smugglers, victimizing poor people by imposing huge amount from them who were forced to look for a job abroad to earn a living for their struggling family back home.
“Bataguenio Human Resources must be investigated which we believed is in cahoots with some unscrupulous POEA officials, without the help of the latter it could not successfully fake OFWs employment contract,” Monterona added.
Migrante-ME said the Arroyo administration too must be investigated on its continued peddling of OFWs abroad with gross disregard to OFWs safety, security and welfare once they have sold out abroad.
Migrante-Middle East is calling OFWs and aspiring OFWs to be vigilant on Mrs. Arroyo’s jobs offers abroad through the POEA in cahoots with recruitment agencies that even resorted to faking OFWs deployment documents as what they are after is OFWs’ money, placement fees, processing fees and other charges impose to us during the processing of our deployment formalities.
“All together we must demand from the Arroyo administration to create jobs locally with decent pay, not to continuously sell our labor abroad as mere commodity because as migrants we are humans with rights and dignity to protect and uphold,” Monterona ended.
Reference: John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 978012