I posted an entry in this blog two years ago titled “Diplomat Ako, OFW lang kayo!” upon reading an online news that Department of Labor and Employment at home urged overseas Filipino workers to expose discourteous officials from Philippine mission abroad so that they may be punished. The entry was made referring to a top Philippine diplomat based in Riyadh telling to an OFW “diplomat ako, OFW lang kayo!” during altercation on the usage of Philippine Embassy grounds for FilCom activities.
Though a year before DOLE made that announcement, Sen. Manny Villar already filed Senate Bill 1879, to impose penalties on Philippine consular officials and other government personnel for failure to act on complaints of, or to give assistance or render service to migrant workers, their families and overseas Filipinos in distress. He also filed Resolution No. 248, urging the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to conduct an inquiry on the allegations of bad attitude, negligence and incompetence of some Philippine embassy and consular personnel stationed in various countries in handling cases of distressed OFWs.
The bill as per Senate web site was substituted by Senate Bill 3286 which failed to become part of the amended provisions of the now Republic Act No. 10022. It is very unfortunate that R. A. 10022 does not reprimand, castigate or penalize any diplomatic corps of bad attitude, negligence and incompetence in attending to the cases of Filipino migrant workers in distress.
That is why our diplomats more particularly our Honorable Labor Attaché’s around the globe knows where they stands. They continue to be rude, indifferent to our unfortunate OFWs, unmindful of their acts, babbling like a parrot, waiting for their new post somewhere in Europe and America. Huh! You should be posted in the war torn Afghanistan instead.
That is also why OFW in distress turns from the help of fellow OFWs and Filipino Community organizations because they’re afraid to visit our embassy, POLO/OWWA offices because of their uncaring, unsympathetic, insensible attitude towards OFWs, more particularly those in need of help.
And now, YOU ask me to shut up and to stop minding these people(unfortunate OFWs) who seek our help? Atty. Labor Attaché, please be reminded that Section 1. Par. (h) of Section 2 of Republic Act. No. 8042, as amended says “The State recognizes non-governmental organizations, trade unions, workers associations, stakeholders and their similar entities duly recognized as legitimate, are partners of the State in the protection of Filipino migrant workers and in the promotion of their welfare. The State shall cooperate with them in a spirit of trust and mutual respect. The significant contribution of recruitment and manning agencies shall from part this partnership.”
Bakit mo ako pinapatigil sa pagtulong at pag-refer sa inyong tanggapan (POLO/OWWA) tungkol sa kanilang problema at hinaing? Kung babaliktarin ko at sabihin sa iyo ang mga katagang ito “OFW Ako, Labor Attaché lang Kayo!” What would be your reaction? You should not treat us like the way Philippine Labor Attaché to Hongkong Romulo Salud treated OFW Agnes Tenorio. Wala kang karapatang patigilin ako. We are the “true unsung heroes” and “the savior of our nation”, don’t you know that – Atty. Labor Attaché?
I respectfully request the Vice President and Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs Jejomar Binay in your upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia and so with DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, to please evaluate the individual performance of the members of the diplomatic corps, especially officials from the office of POLO/OWWA to determine the merits of their continuing tour of duty. I am so sure that some of the “wheat should be separated from the chaff” or else kawawa ang mga OFWs na nangangailangan ng agarang tulong sa ating mga magigiting na diplomats.