19 January, 2010, RIYADH: Alarmed by many complaints on site from Filipino expatriate workers in the Kingdom, a Filipino community organization formed in 2002 in the Industrial Area of Riyadh are conducting a series of forum dubbed as “Know your Rights and Obligations as an OFW in the Kingdom”.
OFW Forum will be held this coming Friday, 22 of January 2010 in the New Islamic Center Auditorium, 2nd Industrial Area, Riyadh at 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Kalipunang Kaakabay ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa Saudi Arabia (KAKAMPI-KSA) decides to re-convene the group task in educating fellow Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in the Kingdom on their rights and obligation as a visitor worker in this oil rich region.
Despite of work related complaints heard from OFWs, Saudi Arabia remained the favorite destination of OFWs comprising 19.8 percent of the total deployed Filipino contract workers around the globe.
Bong Amora founder of KAKAMPI-KSA said “many of the newly deployed OFWs in Saudi Arabia are in culture shock more specifically on aspects where the host country’s culture, customs and traditions not congruent to the Philippine psyche.”
“The objective of this forum is to impart to OFWs, the Kingdom’s – Islamic Way of Life”. Amora added.
OFW Forum is a joint effort of KAKAMPI-KSA, the New Islamic Center, 2nd Industrial Area under the Directorship of Shk. Mohammad Bin Hamza Al Kurdi and the GUARDIANS NewHope Brotherhood International, Inc. (GNBII).
GNBII Riyadh Chapter Founder Luis Cabandez emphasized that “the general goal of the forum is to spread the word as we don’t want more Filipinos to experience what many of us went through in the country whose rules and regulations, policies and labor laws are very different from ours.” “The ultimate purpose of this forum is to guide our kababayans in the right direction as visitors and a foreign worker in the Kingdom.” Cabandez explained. GNBII-Riyadh is a chapter group of GNBII mother organization based in Jeddah.
OFW Forum will illustrate the proper remedial and concrete steps to consider in resolving work related problem on site as well as to avoid systemic constraints and risk of a labor dispute may bring to an OFW.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will educate OFWs about the Kingdom’s Saudi Labor Law. This is in line with POLO/OWWA “On-site Labor Education Program (OLEP)” not only in Riyadh but to other areas in Central and Eastern Region of the Kingdom especially to those places where there are large numbers of OFWs employed.
POLO/OWWA Riyadh is currently headed by Officer in-Charge, Assistant Labor Attache Atty. Cesar L. Chavez, Jr.
A new Labor Attache will be posted soon in Riyadh to replace out-going Labor Attache Resty Dela Fuente.
The Assistance to National Section (ANS) of the Philippine Embassy to be led by Vice Consul Roussel Reyes will also guide the participants regarding the proper procedure or action an OFWs can do to assist fellow OFW in distress, more importantly the run-away.
KAKAMPI-KSA in a statement said “We will also tackle the importance of interpreting the Saudi Labor Law, more particularly to its provisions where rights of OFWs are violated. The Forum also needs to identify recruitment crocodile agencies in the Philippines that only look into their own pocket and not the welfare of the OFWs they deployed.”
Some of the OFWs complain of contract substitution, delayed payment of salaries, poor living conditions, extension of work even after expiration of contract, non-payment of end of service benefits among others.
OFW Forum, “Know your rights and obligations as OFW’s in the Kingdom” is under the auspices of Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. ***