19 August 2009
OFW group to DFA, RP posts:
Take custody of detained KGS-Migrante members, use diplomacy effectively
“Philippine Embassies in the Middle East should use diplomacy as an effective tool to help thousands of distress and run away OFWs,” thus today said by John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME regional coordinator.
Monterona said as RP posts in the Middle East and around the world are headed by country’s top diplomats they should use their knowledge in diplomacy effectively and pro-actively to help the increasing numbers of distress and run away, abused and maltreated OFWs especially in the Middle East.
“The case of 4 KGS members who are still detained in Riyadh for 5 days now since arrest last Friday for violating Saudi’s customary laws whose only intention is to assist distress and run away OFWs abused and maltreated by their employers is a case in point where the Philippine Embassy could use diplomacy by asking the host government to release the detained KGS members and place them under its custody,” Monterona added.
Those who are still in jail are KGS officers and members Mario Ben, Mike Garlan, Ronilo Reyes, and Rustico Marcos.
While distressed and runaway workers who were arrested along with the KGS members are Rey Balagtas, Elvira De Guzman, Clemia Corpus, Sarah Gumansing, Rosa Salazar, and Amauri Meris.
Monterona said during several phone conversations with Embassy’s officials in Riyadh, he stressed the idea of taking custody of the detained KGS members so that they can be temporarily release and that they could report to their respective work.
“This is the same suggestion given to us by the Human Rights Society of Saudi Arabia, a non-governmental organization in Saudi Arabia advocating the promotion of human rights when we have asked their assistance so that KGS members will be released temporarily,” Monterona added.
“But we are disappointed to hear from our Riyadh-based Philippine Embassy officials that they can’t do it, for whatever reason they only knew,” Monterona averred.
The OFW leader said effective and pro-active diplomacy coupled with genuine desire to help could send back home the more than a hundred run away OFWs that stormed at the Philippine Consulate Offices in Jeddah yesterday.
“There will come a time that these thousands of run away and distress OFWs in Saudi or any country in the Middle East will stage the first ever protest rally of OFWs against their very own government’s continued neglect out of their desperation and discontent,” Monterona opined.
Monterona ended saying “there could be no other form of actions to take for desperate and discontented OFWs and their families than to collectively protest, protest, and protest the criminal neglect of the Arroyo administration to the so called “Modern Heroes” (read: Modern Slaves). # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012