Sunday, March 15, 2009

OAV registration in Mideast

Press Release
15 March 2009

Delayed and unfavorable registration timings hampering OAV registration
in some RP posts in the Middle East

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers organizations in the Middle East today said the delayed and unfavorable registration timings set out by some RP posts in the Middle East are reasons for the low turnout of OAV registrants.

“How could we expect the OAV registration would result to be good in the Middle East when in fact some of RP posts have just open up the registration few week backs and set up an unfavorable registration timings,?” thus queried by John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said they have known that only 1,649 new Filipinos have so far registered in the oil-rich region as at March 13, 2009.

“There are nearly 1.5-M OFWs in the entire Middle East region, and yet there are only a thousand more who have registered for the OAV so far; but it’s no surprise to us for the reason that some RP posts have just open up the registration few weeks back,” Monterona said.

Monterona cited for instance the Philippine Embassy in Qatar had just announced the start of registration on March 5, 2009, while the Philippine Consulate office in Dubai-UAE had started only last February 17; few weeks delayed from the re-scheduled start of OAV registration on 1st February by virtue of COMELEC resolution.

“The OAV registration was shortened by virtue of COMELEC Resolution issued last year; it is originally schedule to start on December 2008 but was re-scheduled to start on February 1, 2009 to end on August 2009; meaning from the original duration of nine (9) months, OAV registration was shortened to seven (7) months; then again some RP posts delayed its actual opening of registration,” Monterona explained.

“The late opening of registration by some RP posts in the Middle East is coupled with registration timings which are not favorable to OFWs who are working 6 days a week, with only Fridays as their day off,” Monterona added.

Monterona said both RP posts in Doha and in Dubai announced the OAV registration would start at 8a.m. to 5p.m. from Sundays to Thursdays to end on 31st August 2009.

“These posts failed to take into consideration that Fridays, as the official non-working holiday in most of Middle Eastern countries, when fellow OFWs normally have a freer time as this is their day off, thus they could go to their respective embassies and consular offices for registration,” Monterona said.

Monterona averred if RP Consular mission in Jeddah and the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh were able to extend the OAV registration during Fridays, we could see no reason as well for the Philippine Embassy in Doha and PCG in Dubai not to do the same.

“We are urging the Philippine Embassy in Doha and PCG in Dubai to reconsider to extend the OAV registration timings from Sundays to Fridays, 8a.m. to 5p.m. considering during Fridays fellow OFWs are normally have freer time to come to the designated registration centers,” Monterona added.

Migrante-ME reiterates its call to all RP posts to consider putting up additional mobile registration centers, not only limited to the offices of Philippine Embassy, but as well as to POLO-OWWA offices where many have been observed to visit during Fridays, and in areas where there are large concentration of OFWs.

“We are urging the Philippine Embassy staff to conduct series of dialog, forum, and consultation among OFWs and their organizations during Fridays to intensify information dissemination about the on-going OAV registration,” Monterona added.

Migrante chapters in the Middle East, since the start of OAV registration, are continuously conducting dialog, forum and consultation among OFWs and their organizations, and distributing leaflets to encourage fellow OFWs to register.

“The conduct of OAV registration during Fridays and extending it until November 2009 is worth compensating so that millions of OFWs could not be disenfranchised and could exercise their right and obligation to vote. The OAV Secretariat, the DFA, and the COMELEC must consider these valid proposals,” Monterona ended. # # #

For reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator,
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice-Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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