5 October 2009
Efficient and effective repatriation of distress workers
Benchmark India’s repatriation efforts, RP posts told
“One would notice that Indian distress workers in deportation center would only stay for few weeks, unlike the repatriation of distress and stranded OFWs that would usually take 3 to 6 months or even 1 year,” said by John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona said Migrante-ME learned that Indian Embassy’s Welfare wing has its own effective and efficient mechanism in repatriating its own distress and stranded migrant workers.
“Indian Embassy’s issuance of its so called Emergency Certificates proved to be effective in sending its own distress migrant workers back to India, and this should be bench mark by RP posts to follow the same system in advancing the welfare and interests of our distress and stranded OFWs in the Middle East,” Monterona averred.
Monterona said he learned that Indian Embassy’s Welfare section is issuing Emergency Certificates to all Indian nationals upon proving their national identity by verifying the authenticity of their documents such as passport copy or ration card.
“By doing so, the run away worker would not wait for its employer-sponsor to issue exit clearance as it is there where the waiting take so long; often many employer-sponsor won’t issue exit clearance as they file a counter suit of absconding, considered a crime in most Middle Eastern countries labor laws, against its run away workers who are usually victims of abuses and maltreatment,” Monterona added.
On an average 5,000 emergency certificates are issued by the Indian Embassy every year. “This would mean Indian embassy is sending back to India 5,000 distress workers every year,” Monterona said.
Monterona said instead of long wait or praying at the mercy of the distress worker’s employer-sponsor to issue exit clearance, the RP post concerned should issue same of Indian’s Emergency Certificate to its distress and run away OFWs.
“If the Indian Embassy were able to do so by issuing Emergency Certificate to its distress and stranded migrant workers, why our government under the Arroyo administration through different RP posts in the Middle East could not do the same especially if it is for the welfare and interest of our distress OFWs who were victims of labor malpractices, abuses and maltreatment?” Monterona asked.
Monterona said Philippine diplomats, consular or labor, should represent the best interests and welfare of our millions OFWs who contribute a lot to our economy.
Monterona further said RP posts should think for ways and means advancing the welfare and interests of our Overseas Filipinos and OFWs, and through diplomatic course of action, diplomacy as their expertise, attain the very objective of putting forward the best interests of our OFWs.
“By doing the same efforts of the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, RP posts could solve the long perennial problem of repatriating distress and stranded OFWs, usually take 6 months to 1 year, in different deportation centers in the Middle East,” Monterona.
Monterona said there are still more than 80 plus stranded inside the deportation center in Jeddah based on Migrante's close estimates, those in Cell no.1 keeps on calling and texting Migrante that the OWWA did not to provide them food and medicines.“To OWWA Administrator Dimzon: organize your OWWA team in Jeddah and instruct them to provide foods and medicines to those who are still in Hajj deportation center, while the PCG should not stop to facilitate their repatriation,” the OFW leader added.
“The problem is the Arroyo administration itself that just pay lip service to our so called “Bagong Bayani” and failed to direct and supervise its Foreign department to put forward and advance the welfare and interest of OFWs as its primary concern, not just selling our human labor as cheap as an exported commodity,” Monterona ended. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Migrante Sectoral Party Vice Chairperson
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012