Group formed to help build Pinoy database in Riyadh
By Roland Blanco, Special to Arab News
RIYADH, 28 November 2002 — A new Filipino community organization is inviting volunteers to help build a database for Filipinos working in Riyadh and to also help in the awareness campaign on developments concerning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
Known as the Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia, or Kakampi – KSA, the group has just been recognized as an accredited community partner (ACP) of the Philippine Embassy.
Manuel Amora, the group’s organizer and spokesman, said their target are OFWs in the first, second, and third industrial areas. Thus far, the has group has a total of 208 members representing 13 companies.
“The main objective of Kakampi-KSA is to work closely, as strategic partner, with other non-government organizations and envision a direct link with Philippine government bodies in Riyadh for welfare and protection of Filipinos working in the industrial area,” Amora said. He clarified that his group is not affiliated with the Manila-based Kakammpi.
Amora said the group’s first undertaking is its primary project, which is to make a database of all Filipinos working in the three industrial areas in Riyadh. He explained that in each company in these areas, a coordinator has been assigned to gather all the information details of Filipino employees.
In the information data is the OFW’s passport number with corresponding details such as issuance and expiry date, day of arrival in the Kingdom, tenure of contract, name of employer and company with address and phone numbers, status of employment, contact phone numbers in the Kingdom and in the Philippines.
“All of the above is necessary to update the lists of OFWs who are moving from one place to another, those who are going exit or for good, and the new recruits from the Philippines,” Amora said.
The coordinator then submits the information sheets to the Central Data Base Lists (CDBL) office of the group for computer encoding.
Amora also said that the group has distributed to its members updated primers on the Absentee Voting Bill provided by International Coalition for Overseas Filipinos Voting Rights (ICOFVR).
“However, we would like to stress that Kakampi–KSA is a non-partisan organization and will not support any political party or individual candidate in 2004 and future elections. Kakampi–KSA will exercise solely our individual right to vote,” he said.
Amora also claimed that Kakampi–KSA is actively involved in the information campaign on the OFW Bank.
“Our organization pledges support to the plan designed by OFW Holdings Inc. and OFW Net Foundation Inc., for the creation of a banking institution that is owned generally by the OFW’s around the globe,” he said.
According to Amora, Kakampi – KSA primarily upholds the well-being of fellow OFWs in the Kingdom, and one of the group’s missions is to educate fellow Filipinos on their rights and obligations as workers.
“Right now we are distributing the OFW Guide to Saudi Labor Law by Jainal Rasul, Jr., labor attaché, and our coordinators are helping us to explain to our members the importance of this primer,” he said.
“Our goal is to give advice to our fellow OFWs on how to deal with problems following the proper procedure, asking for legal claims appropriately without putting at risk the status of our members, and protecting the dignity and integrity of the working Filipinos in the kingdom,” Amora said.
As stated in Kakampi–KSA’s constitution and by-laws, the following are the specific objectives of the group:
o to review and advocate changes in the Migrant Workers Act, and its effective implementation;
o to review and recommend changes to the charter and structure of OWWA in response to the needs of its members;
o to review, study and recommend OFW social welfare benefits such as health and insurance, education and training, out of work pension plan, housing and retirement; and
o to study and propose reintegration programs particularly on investments and entrepreneurship.
For more information, the contact persons are Joel Calimlim at 052-129562 for the 1st Industrial Area, Ronnie Ortillo at 056-976049 or 498-4590 ext. 301 for the 2nd Industrial Area, and Marben Caesar Delgado at 057-161622 or 498-5054 ext. 14 for 3rd Industrial Area.