Saudi stops hiring Filipino domestics

March 29, 2011

By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 08:04:00 03/29/2011

MANILA, Philippines—Saudi Arabia said it would stop the processing of employment contracts for Filipinos household service workers (HSWs) until further notice, Carlos Cao Jr., Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief, said Monday.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs relayed this information in a note verbale to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh on March 12.

According to recruitment industry officials, the ban was connected to the new Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act which requires prior to deployment a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) certification that the rights of domestic helpers would be adequately protected.

“There was a note verbale from the Saudi Foreign Ministry saying that they will no longer cooperate in the verification of contracts,” Cao said in an interview.

The government “is studying the matter very carefully” because it does not want the issue to affect an estimated 1.5 million overseas Filipino workers in the kingdom, he said.

“We will respond to the note verbale and there is now an immediate policy study being done. It is a very sensitive matter. We do not want to add fuel to the fire,” he added.

Cao said that as of November 2010, there were 80,656 Filipino HSWs with an estimated 9,000 Filipino domestics deployed in Saudi Arabia last year.

He said officials from the DFA and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) were meeting to come out with a “unified position” on how to reply to the note verbale.

“We can already sense that there is a certain degree of slowdown in the deployment of HSWs but as a matter of policy, we are still processing this,” Cao said.

A labor official, who requested anonymity, said the Saudi ban might have been caused by the need for DFA certification on rights protection.

Under the new Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act, OFWs can be sent only to countries where their rights are protected.

The DFA is tasked to certify which countries meet this criteria. This certification will then have to be approved by the POEA governing board.

Cao said the DFA had issued a certification for Saudi Arabia but he declined to say if this included domestic helpers, adding only that POEA was asking for “further clarification” from the DFA.

Recruitment industry consultant Emmanuel Geslani said the certification issue was one of the reasons behind the Saudi ban.


The latest POEA Memo (daw)

March 7, 2011

Check the memo, folks.

Whose signature is it?

Isn’t there a new POEA Administrator already since Nov 2010?

Blacklist abusive employers, not runaway Pinoys in KSA – group

June 26, 2009

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–group

RP no longer UN’s model-country in OFW protection

April 27, 2009

04/27/2009 | 04:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers has stricken out the Philippines as model state for its failure to fulfill customary duties under the UN standards, migrants group based in Europe has said.

Grace Punongbayan of Migrante Europe chapter said the Philippines was deleted as a model state at the meeting of the Steering Committee for the Campaign For Ratification of the Migrants Rights Convention presided by Ms. Carla Edelenbos, secretary of the Committee on Migrant Workers, at the UN headquarters in Geneva last April 8.

The document being referred to, where the Philippines was deleted as a “positive case study of state ratification and implementation” is the “Guide on Ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and members of Their Families.

The steering committee approved the deletion after Rev. Cesar Taguba of the Ecumenical Ministry for Filipinos Abroad and Migrante-Europe cited several instances wherein the Philippine government failed to meet its obligations under the Convention.

Present during the meeting, among others, were representatives from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Catholic Migration Commission, and the World Council of Churches.

Meanwhile, Migrante International, at the opening of the 10th session of the United Nations Committee on Migrant Workers held April 20 in Switzerland, called attention to the violations by the Philippine government of the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and its non-compliance with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (UNCPMWMTF).

Among the countries under review by the UN steering committee were Azerbaijan, Colombia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Punongbayan, together with a representative of Migrante Switzerland, both member organizations of Migrante International, gave oral interventions in behalf of the Manila-based international alliance.

Migrante International earlier submitted a written report before the start of the 10th session to the Committee that was distributed to the members of the Commission and posted on the website of the UNCMW.

In the report, the group noted that in 2005, the deployment of documented OFWs breached the one million mark. It said the average number of workers sent abroad daily was 3,000 making the Philippines top-three among migrant-sending countries.

“Approximately a tenth of the population live and work in 194 countries and territories around the world, with concentrations in North America, Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Europe. This migration which started by waves in the course of Philippine history has become an almost daily phenomenon since the government initiated its labor export program (LEP) in the 1970s. What was initially meant as a temporary measure to address the country’s unemployment problem has become a regular fixture, massive and systematic in scope, and bruited about as a tool for national development,” Migrante International said in a statement.

Remittances from migrants have kept the Philippine economy continuously afloat. From $659 million in 1984 remitted OFW money hit a staggering $16 billion by the end of 2008.

“These remittances were earned at tremendous costs to Filipino migrants and their families who had to endure long years of separation and suffer from various forms of exploitation, abuse, discrimination, violence and terrorism,” Migrante said.

During the question and answer portion of the UN committee discussion, Punongbayan stressed that despite the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 8042 and the ratification by the Philippine government of the UNCPMWMTF, the government on many occasions violated the rights of OFWs and is guilty of non-compliance with the provisions of the said convention of which the country is a signatory. – GMANews.TV


Nigeria Pinoys react to news that only Lebanon & Jordan will be lifted

April 1, 2009

Reaction to this news:


Masamang biro po iyan, na di nakasama ang Nigeria…..

Paano baga ang tunay na pangyayari at  ang pinagbasehan, iyong report na dalang dala ni General Cimatu o naging paraffle na lang baga ang labanan o naging palabunutan na po yata.

Baka naman kaya by alphabet ang naging basehan

Baka kaya ganire din, Jordan Afghanistan Iraq Lebanon Nigeria, at di talaga kasama tayo sa palatuntunan na iyan, saling pusa lamang tayo at wala sa tambiyolo ang ating entry.

Baka din eto nga pala daw ang naging criteria sa pag pili ng mga u.n.g.a.s. (Usapan Na Ginanap Ayon Sa ) BAN sa Nigeria :

progress in the conclusion of a bilateral labor cooperation agreement that will ensure the protection of the welfare of Filipino workers, specifically :

1) mimimum wage

2) reasonable rest periods

3) decent working and living conditions.

Anak ng kagaw, abay nakaka insulto ang mga lintek na eto ahh…

Father Billy, baka kailangan ng sermon ng mga bopols na nag decide nitong mga pangyayari, baka hindi alam ng mga iyan na Washington din ang paswelduhan dito sa Nigeria at di Naira, baka ang pinag basehan nila ay exchange rate ng peso sa currency ng mga bansa. Abay mababa nga naman, pero mali din, kasi, umaabot ang palitan sa ngayon pa lang ng :

1US$ =Naira166.00

1 US$ =JOD70.85 (Jordanian Dinar)

1 US$=LBP1,507.5 (Lebanese Pound)

Sa Rotation naman, ang labanan kapag nasa sa Oil n Gas Company , Engineering, Construction, Offshore, Telecom company ka sa Nigeria ay months, minsan nga ay weeks pa, (6 weeks/2 weeks of; 8 weeks/2 weeks off; 3 months/1 month; 4 months/1 month) hindi taon ang binibilang para ka makabakasyon at makitang muli ang Land of the Servants daw.

Decent condition, oo nga po at madaming ding nag kalat na pulubi sa lansangan at madaming mga pulis na nangongotong tulad sa Pinas, pero andito ang mina ng langis at no.7 sila na supplier, parehas lang ang lasa este presyo ng langis dito sa Jokedan at Libangan na kanilang napusuan kapag ibenenta sa mercado, kahit paputol putol ang supply ng NEPA kuryente dito ay may pangontra namang mga generator, hindi pamaypay ang gamit natin kapag maalinsangan at uso din naman dito ang mga airconditioner,

Ahh, alam ko na po, baka naman ang sinasabi nilang decent condition ay kapag nabihag ka na ng mga kidnapper, tama sila diyan, sa sapa, sa creek sila naka billet , pero nakakapag request din naman ng Indomie, beer at babae pa nga kapag ikaw ay Bitoy at kasama na daw iyon sa overhead ng ransom. Ibang assessment ang napasubmit ni General Cimatu at baka napalitan, parang bidding iyan na nag karoon ng singitan, ang report natin ay doon binasa sa basurahan ng mga komite de peste-jos.

Ay sa siya, kung ganyan po talaga ang lumabas sa tawas, ang Embassy natin sa Abuja ay magpalabas na agad ng kalatas, dapat maging opisyan na iyan at di sa dyaryo po lamang na ang Ban sa Nigeria ay Inay Gyera pa din.

Suggestion ko lang po, kung pupwede ay pasundan na din ninyo ng mga listahan ng mga botante, paki update na lang po ulit kung ang mga tao dito sa buong Nigeria sa listahan na hawak ninyo ay andirito pa, baka kung saan saan na naman baka po mapapunta ang aming mga balota niyan, kami sa Lagos ay andoon sa Port Harcourt katulad noong nag daang election. Gagawin po natin na ma-update ang Master List hanggat maaga pa at hindi iyong isang linggo lamang ang gagawing pag hahanda.

Malalaman natin kung ilang boto ang kanilang ipinag walang bahala, asawa, anak, kamag anak, inaanak at manganganak pa iyan na hindi karapat dapat ang mga nakaupong tagapangalaga ng ating buhay sikmura.

May pag asa pa naman, malayo pa ang election, pero sa ngayon ay walang tibay din pa palang maaasahan.


Fred Borbon

PBSN Chairperson Esper Derpo meet with Pres. Arroyo over Nigeria Travel & Work Ban

March 31, 2009


31 March 2009 — In lieu of a presentation to the cabinet meeting scheduled this morning today regarding the OFW Deployment Ban to Nigeria, Special Envoy to the President for Middle East and Africa, Gen. Roy Cimatu and Philippine Barangay Society in Nigeria (PBSN) Chaiperson Mrs. Esperanza Derpo were instead, called in by the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for a closed door meeting at the “Bahay Pangarap”, PSG Compound, Malacaňang Park.

The hour-long meeting was also attended by Vice President, Noli de Castro; Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Alberto Romulo; and Mrs. Derpo’s other half, Engr. Nestor Derpo. Details of the said meeting remain undisclosed to this hour, but Mrs. Derpo confirms a positive outcome.

Mrs. Derpo is scheduled to fly back to Lagos on Friday, 3rd April 2009, but expressedher intention to stay in the Philippines until proceedings are finalized.

Mr. Nestor Derpo, VP Noli de Castro, Esper Derpo, HE Pres Gloria Arroyo, DFA Sec Alberto Romulo, Amb. Roy Cimatu

Mr. Nestor Derpo, VP Noli de Castro, Esper Derpo, HE Pres Gloria Arroyo, DFA Sec Alberto Romulo, Amb. Roy Cimatu

Thanks to Maricar Derpo for the reportorial and photos.

OFWs in Mideast join protest vs. hike in passport, other fees

February 17, 2009

02/17/2009 | 11:04 AM

MANILA, Philippines – An alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East warned Tuesday that the impending 25-percent increase in passport fees and other consular charges could spark international protests.

Migrante-Middle East, claiming to be the largest OFW group in that part of the world, said the fee adjustment is unjustifiable.

“Increase in passport fees and other consular charges by the Arroyo administration … could not be justified especially in time of global financial crisis and price increases of basic commodities and services,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Migrante chapters in Europe last week showed strong opposition to the increase in fees, citing the “drastic drop in the local currencies vis-a-vis the US dollar.”

“We join hands with our fellow OFWs in Europe in denouncing the impending increase in passport fee and other consular fees as it only an additional burden. Fellow OFWs and their families are already bleeding dry due to numerous government fees and charges collected before they could be successfully placed abroad by recruitment agencies which also collected exorbitant placement and processing fees,” Monterona said.

He enumerated some of government fees and charges collected to an OFW from the required authentication of birth certificate, NBI clearance, OWWA membership fee, Medicare, Overseas Employment Certificate, Artist Accreditation Certificate, Passport Fee, authentication, renewal, that would reach to not less than P20,000.

“This is not to include the placement fee the recruitment agency would ask, which is equivalent to one-month salary,” he continued.

He said the Arroyo administration is again using an old squid tactic to implement first the increase of passport fee and other consular fees in RP posts in Europe, testing the waters first, then if there is no opposition other posts would follow suit.

“That’s why as early as this (time), OFWs and their families must strongly register their collective opposition and not to wait until the 25% increase in passport fee and other consular fees would be implemented in all RP posts abroad, first in Europe, Asia-Pacific, then in the Middle East and Africa,” Monterona added.

Migrante chapters in Europe already started conducting consultations and readying for massive protests.

OFWs in the Asia-Pacific would certainly follow, and OFWs in the Middle East will conduct consultations among OFWs and their organizations if passport fee and other consular fees have already been increased by Philippine Embassies and Consular offices in the Middle East, he said. – GMANews.TV