12 February 2010
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012
Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of Filipino migrant workers with chapters and member-organization s in most of the countries in the Middle East, today said it is not concocting stories and would never do, in response to the accusations being hurled by its critiques -RP posts officials in the Middle East.
“We issued statement based on the facts and information relayed to us by our Migrante officers and of the distress OFWs themselves and from their relatives and families who have sought our assistance. Concocting stories and making lies are not part and would never be part of our advocacy,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona is reacting to an unsigned letter from the Al Arab Company that was sent to one of the most esteemed Philippine news online reputing Migrante-ME issued statements on February 7 about the 200 striking OFWs from 5 job sites in Saudi Arabia.
“We have all the necessary documents, including exchanges of emails, names of the OFWs leaders and their contact numbers, and photos showing that the leaders of the striking OFWs in Riyadh have sought the Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS), member organization of Migrante and in fact have asked our support after the 200 OFWs decided to collectively stage a stop of work protest against their erring employer,” Monterona added.
“We stand on what we have said because it is based on the legitimate demands and complaints of our fellow OFWs that were victims of their employer’s labor malpractices such as delayed salaries for 4 months, non-payment of overtime work, 0among others as stated on the letter by the complaining OFWs to Al Arab Contracting Co. (ACC) Human Resources Manager, copy furnished the Philippine Ambassador in Riyadh,” Monterona continued.
Monterona revealed that one of the leader of the troubled OFWs sent an email to KGS Chairperson Eric Jocson saying that some of them were threatened by the ACC management that if they will not sign a waiver of their complaints and issue an apology letter, they will be terminated and will be sent back home without any compensation and payment of salaries.
“The demands and complaints of the 200 OFWs working for Al Arab Contracting Co (ACC) could have been resolved amicably without resorting to work stoppage and would never be an option for the troubled OFWs if in the first place the ACC management have properly attended their legitimate complaints which are after all are only demanding what have been stated on their original signed contract in the Philippines,” Monterona added.
Monterona said but because of contract substitution that slipped away, as usual, from the watch of Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh or because POLO is just tolerating it, the hired OFWs labor status becomes problematic.
“However, if the complaints of the troubled OFWs have been properly attended, then their could never be an expose of ACC management labor malpractices and POLO’s continued neglect from Migrante-Middle East, and no exchanges of strong words and issuing threats of OFWs employment termination,” Monterona added.
Monterona averred Migrante chapters, OFWs and their families’ message is clear -if RP posts officials don’t want to be criticized, they should promptly attend on the legitimate complaints of distress or troubled OFWs against their erring employers and be pro-active in giving assistance to distress, abused and maltreated OFWs.
“We were informed by the leaders of the striking OFWs that they have met the ACC management on February 8 and have reached an agreement based on the issues raised by the complaining OFWs; they should have acted on their complaints when the management had received the first letter of complaints for its hired OFWs,” Monterona added.
“But where is the POLO? What they did when it was first informed by the troubled OFWs of their labor problems with their employer? Monterona queried. # # #
KGS/Migrante meets complaining OFWs from Al Arab Cont. Co. (ACC)on February 5.