Blacklist abusive employers, not runaway Pinoys in KSA – group

June 26, 2009

JOSEPH HOLANDES UBALDE, GMANews.TV
06/24/2009 | 08:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Instead of blacklisting runaway overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), abusive employers in Saudi Arabia should be barred under the new employment policy there, a migrants’ advocacy group said.

In a letter to Philippine officials in Saudi Arabia, Migrante’s Middle East chapter said the new policy puts the blame wrongly on foreign workers instead of employers who are subjecting these workers to various forms of maltreatment and labor malpractices.

“It should be erring and abusive employers that need to be blacklisted in hiring our workers, not the other way around,” said Migrante regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona.

Based on Migrante Saudi Arabia’s records, there were 1,793 cases of OFWs requesting repatriation as of December 31, 2008. Of the total, 566 ran away from their employers, while 1,019 were in various “distress” situations.

“We believe running away from abusive employers is the only way out for our distressed OFWs to save their lives. They should not be punished as they are the victims here,” Monterona added.

A GMANews.TV source in Saudi Arabia explained that under the new policy, all entering expatriates will be scanned for fingerprints for the kingdom’s database. Employers could no longer ask immigration officials to take a foreign employee’s name out of the blacklist. The SR2,000 fine for blacklist removal is also not applicable.

Deportees are required to take a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight out of the country, “”but the deportee will surely be delayed in his return because of the long process and difficulty in booking a (Saudia) flight,” said the source, who has assisted many workers in the Middle East in leaving abusive employers.

Welfare Officer Romualdo Exmundo of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah said some runaway OFWs have even left the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration shelter at the consulate in Jeddah to join other expatriates who are staying under an overpass in Khandara District, in the hope that immigration police would arrest and deport them.

The other runaway workers are from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

But the GMANews.TV source said trooping to the Al Khandara bridge can only expedite the deportation of runaway maids, and not males or skilled workers.

Police records would have to be checked first for runaway men and skilled workers before they get deported. They also need their employer’s go-signal before they are allowed to leave the country, the source warned. – GMANews.TV

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/165758/Blacklist-abusive-employers-not-runaway-Pinoys-in-KSA–group

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Lebanon ban lifted but not Nigeria??

November 25, 2008
Mga kababayang naija pinoys at pinays, isa na namang di maintindihang decision ng ating government officials.

Biruin nyo, Lebanon‘s “ILLEGALLY DEPLOYED OFWs” – meaning, undocumented workers- are allowed to come home without any fear of being banned from returning to their place of work.

abused domestic helpers protest

And yet, Ms. Manalili, just like her predecessors, have the gumption to say that the ban to Nigeria will remain because  the government still believe that the entire Nigeria is very risky. Manalili is saying security of workers is the major consideration of the government.

This is madness.

If security is a big issue, why can’t the philippine government impose a travel ban to the following places in the Philippines which Australia deems to be ‘dangerous’.
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20081124-174051/Australia-updates-travel-advisory-vs-RP

We, the Filipinos in Nigeria, are very disappointed by Ms. Manalili’s parroting of the previous statement made by DOLE Sec. Roque and DFA/OUMWA Usec. Conejos.

We cannot believe that Ms. Manalili would just say that Nigeria is a risky country when she has not even a first-hand knowledge about the situation in Nigeria, nor has she made any effort to get feedback from filipino association in Nigeria.

In other words, her pronouncement with regards to Nigeria ban is based on ‘blessed ignorance’ of what is the present situation in Nigeria. Knee-jerk decision making. That is their habit. Bad news for bad news, i think Middle east is consistently DEADLY to hapless HSWs.  So why is the government not putting a ban on their deployment?

We wonder who are the people behind the lobby to have the Lebanon ban lifted. We would like to hire them
as Nigeria lobbyist also.

The risk in Lebanon is not only rooted on occassional war, but more on the Arab culture. How many Sri Lankans, Filipinos and Bangladeshis die in the hands of their Arab employers every year??

EVERY YEAR !

And yet Ms Manalili, like her bosses at DOLE and DFA, continue to insist that Nigeria is as dangerous as Somalia. Some people are not reading their news.

Ms. Manalili, we Filipinos in Nigeria, invite you to visit us here in West Africa. Maybe when you meet with us in Lagos, you will have a better understanding of why we Naija Pinoys make a lot of noise and effort to have this ban lifted. And then maybe you can give a correct report to your superiors that the ban is no longer necessary.

We hope you will have a merry christmas. Dahil kami sa Nigeria, nangigil sa galit at naiiyak sa lungkot sa pahirap na dinaranas namin dahil sa ban na to.

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LOCAL NEWS: POEA says OFWs in Lebanon can spend Christmas in RP
By Mayen Jaymalin Updated November 24, 2008 03:47 PM
Filipino domestic helpers employed in Lebanon can now look forward to spending a Christmas at home.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Jennifer Manalili said the government would be allowing illegally deployed Filipino workers to return home for the holidays.
“The POEA  will soon be coming out with a resolution that will allow our workers in Lebanon to spend Christmas here without fear of getting banned from returning to their jobs,” Manalili said in an interview.
Manalili noted that they have been getting numerous requests from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Lebanon, most of whom were deployed illegally, that they be allowed to spend the Christmas season in the Philippines.
“We are granting their request, but we must stress that only those who will come home for the holidays will be allowed to return to their jobs in Lebanon,” Manalili said.
“The possibility of allowing new hires in Lebanon is still under study, we still have to validate the job orders,” Manalili explained.
The government is also unlikely to lift the ban in Iraq, Nigeria and Afghanistan, saying security of workers is the major consideration of the government.
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?ArticleId=418256