Hon. Consul General Nestor Padalhin and Labor Attache Rustico Dela Fuente should investigate alleged inefficiency of our government officials in KSA. Citing online news item titled From Saudi with Tears should not be ignored at all and appropriate action must be done accordingly.
However, in fairness to our government officers handling their cases and those who manned the center, the letters from 50 stranded female OFWs at Bahay Kalinga Riyadh as reported, did not specifically mentioned any details of their grievances. But the letters addressed to Migrante asking for help is very disturbing. Why on earth they are asking for help? Since they are supposedly in good hands. And what kind of help they are asking for? Well.. we have also to consider that cases involving run away maids in the Kingdom is not just an easy job to conclude, lets have patience. But for those long overdue cases, it is another story.
I would suggest that OUTGOING PhilEmb/POLO and OWWA officers should stay a little while in their post (perhaps a year or two) and clear these alleged mess (if ever there is) before leaving us under the heat of the sun and going nowhere to their new posting – in the land of autumn leaves and winter snow.
Solution to this problem according to the statement of Mr. Rashid Fabricante (Pusong Mamon Task Force) submitted to the recently concluded Dr. Alfred J. Ganapin Advocacy Forum 1, Series 2006 in UP Bahay Kalinaw, the government should reassess the present condition of OWWA run FWDC house in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, increase its budget and operational requirement for our stranded workers. Terminate the services of non performing case officers and translators whose handling of run-away DHs unable to repatriate them in 90 days and re-align their budget and divert to high risk critical areas. – hmmm, nice idea.
Speaking of budget and operation requirement, Undersecretary Esteban Conejos of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) in the abovementioned forum narrates that the law has provided the department with legal assistance fund amounting P15 Million Pesos annually. The said Legal Assistance Fund is being use for legal assistance to OFWs and overseas Filipinos who are in distress. Usage of funds includes hiring of lawyers, to pay bail bonds, litigation expenses, etc,etc.
Besides LAF, the office of OUMWA has been provided with an annual budget of P45 Million called ATN Fund (Assistance to National Fund). This particular fund according to USEC Conejos is intended for non-labor related cases, like repatriation of illegally recruited and undocumented Filipinos overseas in particular.
If we summarized the above fund from both LAF and ATN Fund, each posts abroad (19 posts) will have an amount of P 3,157,894.00 annual assistance fund from DFA alone.
How much is the OWWA budget? I dont have any reading materials yet, am still looking for it, maybe next time.
After all, I always heard from them, kulang ang budget ng Gobyerno para sa mga OFW in distress, minsan naririnig ko walang budget ang Gobyerno. Well, Its true! Our employer donates 2 air tickets for our stranded compatriots during the tenure of my friend Labor Attache Sodusta.
Just want to share a message from Mr. Ronnie Abeto (E-Lagda, PMTF, V-Team), To Filipinas applying as domestic helper in Saudi, please do not work here! Huh! I second the motion.
1) Bulatlat.com (Migrant Watch, From Saudi with Tears by: Aubrey Makilan)
2) Dr. Alfred Ganapin Advocacy Forum 1 Series of 2006, Ganito Kami Ngayon, Paano Tayo Bukas? Prospect of Philippine Labor Migration and Philippine Development, March 31 UP Bahay Kalinaw. Initiated by Center for Migrant Advocacy and Friedrich Evert Stiftung, (FES).