Astillero nomination to POEA Board blocked by Philippine Embassy in Riyadh


(Updated  6:10 PM) 15.03.2012, RIYADH— The fight over the nomination of a new Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Board of Trustee, an agency that oversees the government employment program and protects the rights of Filipino migrant workers recently backfires with Philippine Embassy in Riyadh allegedly blocking the confirmation of  Dr. Carlito Astillero in the POEA Board.

It was known from DOLE Secretary Hon. Rosalinda Baldoz herself  that the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has written to her blocking the appointment  of former OFW Dr. Astillero to the Board.

This is the first time that a true bloodied OFW from Saudi Arabia has been nominated to the post.  The Philippine Consortium on Migration and Development (PHILCOMDEV) nominated the multi awarded and MOFYA 2011 Awardee  Dr. Astillero.

Philippine Consortium on Migration and Development (PHILCOMDEV) is a network of thirty-six (36) non – government and people’s organizations, microfinance institutions, cooperatives, community based organizations, networks, and individuals who are involved on the issue of migration, human rights and development – particularly the empowerment of migrants, overseas Filipinos, their families and communities as social development actors, addressing the social costs of migration, optimizing the benefits of migration, and contributing to people-oriented Philippine development.

Dr. Astillero in a letter addressed to the newly designate Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago said please, investigate this matter and let the truth come out. Although I have no interest anymore to serve as board of Director of POEA, I want to clear my name of the report of your Embassy staff.” Dr. AStillero in his letter lamented that  “If I have not done the best thing for our people in diaspora in Iran, Libya, and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia how come that former President Corazon Aquino awarded me Bagong Bayani in 1992 and President Fidel Ramos awarded me Outstanding OCW in 1994, and the same President Ramos again awarded me with Special Presidential Banaag and Sikat Award in 1996 and this not to mention my recent awards after retirement last July 26, 2011 the Model OFW Family of the Year 2011 Award (MOFYA) last December 7, 2011 and the Outstanding Balikbayan Reputation Award (OBR ) in December 9, 2011.”

Dr. Astillero and Engr. Robert Ramos (Two Filcom Leaders in Saudi Arabia nominated for POEA Board)

It was alleged that the former hospital the good doctor was working, the Al Mishari Hospital did wrong doings to its Filipino staff and Dr. Astillero had not done anything to help resolved their cases of complaints by Filipinos working in the said hospital. “The truth of the matter, humbly speaking, and all cases of complaints involving our Filipino staff could not have been solved without my intervention.” The emotional letter says addressed to Ambassador Tago.

Community leaders in Saudi Arabia believed that  the good doctor was framed by some other quarters opposed to the nomination. The nomination was blocked simply because of intrigues and to protect the Embassy staffs, POLO and OWWA’s from further humiliation for their negligence, failure, indifference and insensitiveness  to resolve grievances of OFWs complaints with employers.

“It is sad to note that the blockade would come from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh”  says Jun Aguilar, head of Philippine based organization Filipino Migrant Workers Group.  

Aguilar, also in a letter addressed to Ambassador Tago said This could had been the first time that a legitimate OFW coming fresh and directly from the ranks be appointed in any government line agencies serving the OFW sector had it not been blocked. The staff/official of our Embassy who is blocking the appointment could have shown some courtesy by contacting the nominee and asked his side on the alleged issue of his engagement with Al-Mishari Hospital.

The Sector was already celebrating upon hearing that Dr Astillero is to be appointed in POEA Board, we thought finally a voice in that very important policy making body would be represented legitimately. I just hope a fair inquiry/investigation be conducted and a report/explanation be provided to the Sector very soon”, Jun Aguilar added. 

The Embassy side had not received any request from the DOLE Secretary for background information or comment on your appointment as POEA BOD member”, Ambassador Ezzedin Tago  said, in an email reply to Dr. Astillero.

Ambassador Tago had just arrived from Manila and back in Riyadh two days ago.

“If my comment or opinion was asked, I believe you already know what I would have saidThe embassy will verify if anyone from the other agencies in Riyadh had received such a request or sent an unsolicited comment or reservation on your appointment.” Ambassador Tago added.

OFW Congress President Alex Veloso Bello said, that he will convene the OFW Congress to address the issue, this is unfair, if the Embassy is behind all these, therefore this is an insult to us seasoned leaders.”

If there was really a letter, verified coming from an embassy staff or its attached agencies and found to be just pure harassment to the nominee, the OFW Congress will write a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs and fight for the expulsion of the Embassy staff and ask DFA that he or she should not to be posted in any Philippine diplomatic post abroad.

Engr. Robert Ramos, a well respected community leader in Riyadh commented “that seems there was a political reason behind which I’m also victim at one point of time.  Ramos was also nominated to the POEA Board but was deleted on the list due to a mere technicality of requirements.

Former Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Rafael Seguis, now Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary promised to look into the matter and warn the community not to arrive into conclusion based on speculations, if  there was indeed a letter  from the Embassy, then we should look into it, verify and investigate, I am sure he or she will be identified.” Seguis added.

If the letter was sent through email and the sender hide his or her identity as Embassy staff then we can hire computer forensics experts to identify, dig deeper, analyze and trace who are those behind all these” said one Filipino community leader who is expert in IT based in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Astillero has been endorsed  in the past, as  OWWA  Administrator  by Filipino organization around the globe and now nominated as POEA Board by PHILCOMDEV.  –end- By: BongA

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8 thoughts on “Astillero nomination to POEA Board blocked by Philippine Embassy in Riyadh

  1. Former Philippine envoy vouches for Astillero’s integrity
    By RODOLFO ESTIMO JR.

    Published: Apr 7, 2012 00:00 Updated: Apr 7, 2012 00:00

    The Philippines’ former ambassador in the Kingdom recently vouched for the good character and integrity of Dr. Mohd. Ali Carlito Astillero, the former laboratory services director of a local hospital in Riyadh whose bid to become a director of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) was allegedly blocked by the Philippine Embassy in the capital.

    “Dr. Astillero was not only conscientious about his job but also a respected Filipino community leader who had helped compatriots in need,” said Antonio P. Villamor, who was ambassador from 2006 until 2010.

    He added there was a time when the embassy assisted a Filipina who had a child out of wedlock and therefore could not be issued with documents. While the embassy assisted the Filipino woman to go home, Astillero made sure that the child was taken care of.

    Villamor was in the Kingdom recently in connection with the case of Rodelio “Eissah” Don Don Lanuza, a Filipino on death row in Dammam for killing a Saudi national.

    Earlier, Astillero sent an email to the Philippine Embassy saying that the latter had blocked his appointment. He said: “I was shocked to hear from Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz during our meeting on March 14 that the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, the institution that honored me as Outstanding Filipino in Saudi Arabia in 1990, blocked my appointment to the POEA board.”

    In an reply to Astillero’s email, Ambassador Ezzedin H. Tago said: “I assure you that the Philippine Embassy had not received any request from Secretary Baldoz on your appointment as POEA board member”.

    Tago also said he did not know that Astillero was a candidate for the position.

    “Before blaming or pointing the finger to any person, I would like to verify first if anyone from the attached agencies in Riyadh had received such a request or sent an unsolicited comment or reservation on your appointment,” Tago added.

    Justifying his nomination to the POEA board, Astillero said that the hospital he used to work for in the Saudi capital had not done anything wrong to its Filipino staff.

    “The hospital I used to work for was one of the best hospitals in Saudi Arabia, giving wages and all benefits on time,” he said.

  2. I learned the POEA is still in the process of looking for qualified candidate for its governing board to represent the land-based, seafarers, and women sectors. Dr. Astillero is not yet selected. He is only one of 5 finalists for the position for the land-based sector. All candidates are OFWs from different parts of the world. I am wondering why people are already celebrating for his appointment. Meron daw isang nominee who has more inspiring accomplishments than Dr. Astillero, ibig sabihin better than Dr. Astillero? I am sure POEA will select the most deserved candidate. Hintayin na lang natin siguro ang results bago tayo mag-react.

  3. I took the liberty of re-posting the reply of Ambassador Ezzedin Tago (in big bold letter) to the message of Doc Astillero earlier which i guess is self explanatory.

    Jun S. Aguilar
    President & CEO
    FMW Group Holdings Inc.
    Suites 304 – 305 PARC House II
    21 EDSA Guadalupe, Makati City

    ***
    Dear Doc Astillero,

    I assure you that the Embassy side had not received any request from the DOLE Secretary for background information or comment on your appointment as POEA BOD member. I also did not know that you were a candidate for the position. If my comment or opinion was asked, I believe you already know what I would have said.

    Before blaming or pointing to any person of office / attached service, I would like to verify if anyone from the other agencies in Riyadh had received such a request or sent an unsolicited comment or reservation on your appointment.

    I would also like for the truth to come out, as I agree that your record speaks for itself.

    With my regards,

    Ezzedin Tago

  4. Yes we must arranged meeting urgently, seems their was political reasons behind, which Im also victim at one point of time.

    Thank you & best regards

    Engr. Robert C. Ramos
    Field Operation Manage/Project Manager (SS 8125)
    Email: ramos@abc.sa.com
    Tel: +966 1 4777715 Ext. 424
    Fax: +966 1 4787700
    Mobile: +966505440947

  5. Sounds no Good ….!!!. Please investigate this issue,,Ill be in Riyadh this coming monday …and set a meeting for all Community Leaders on Thursday.

    Regards,

    Oka
    Oscar Domingo
    OFW Congress

  6. Dear All,

    I was really shocked of what happened, I never thought that our very owned Philippine Embassy here in Riyadh where our good friend Dr. Astillero came from! one of their Staff who blocked the confirmation of the good Dr. in the POEA Board of Director. It’s really a sad thing to realize that instead of extending their effort and valuable support to whom they known as PhilEmb-partner in all events, assisting distressed & less fortunate OFWs & etc. for a couple of decades, this certain person without any idea the whole story so as to why we endorsed the good Dr. Lito and most importantly of his accomplishment of helping not just OFWs but also by spearheading and by
    donating some classrooms back-home in the poor areas, it’s the mean reason why he,(Dr.Lito Astillero) received some/multiple Awards from various Head of our Land by no less than the President of the Philippines.

    I for one, will try my best to help this person out and not nor no longer be given any Diplomatic-post, even finally be served with expulsion from DFA Staffs being unfair! .

    With the help of our colleagues/FilCom Leaders around the Globe, epsl’y. our good & best friend Jun Aguilar in Manila who can be able to get in touch with the POEA up to the Malacanang Staffs, we are hopeful w/ prayer that this problem can be resolved to clean the name of our dear friend Dr. Lito Astillero.

    Engr.Biox Q. Manilum
    Operations Manager-&-Project Engineer
    PSO-Ministry of Defense & Aviation -HQ
    Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    President, BISAYA, (Bisayang Igsoon Sa Saudi Arabya)
    Ex-Chapter Commander, OKOR-CRC
    Comptroller General, OFW-Congress-Riyadh

  7. Dear All,

    We are behind in this move, it is very drastic accusation without having further investigation in the part of our dear friend. But anyhow we are fighting for OFW not only because Dr. Lito is our friend but for the benifit of OFW in general.

    Hope our sentiment and grievance be heard in Malacanang Palace

    God bless you Dr. Lito & God bless us all.

    Mabuhay ang OFW at mabuhay tayong lahat.

    Your OFW partner,

    Engr. Resty S. Sibug, PME
    PSME-CRSA Past President
    FGA – Vice President
    OKOR-CRC Archivist
    AKI – Riyadh Member

  8. Dear Brothers,

    I’m surprised at the turn of event, on the appointment of Doc Ast; what is our response? This is pure harrasment, (clear & simple) – devoid of truth, and just an attempt to keep the OFWs “outside of the Kulambo” or outside the house, forever.

    Let’s also ask Jun (Aguilar) in manila about this story and their moves there. This is a lesson – if one of us cannot enter, then everyone of us cannot enter, forever.

    They dont want our eyes in our kitchen.

    Brotherly

    Eli Mua
    Union of Muslim Associations

    ==============

    Dear Ambassador Tago,

    As the President of (PPP-Central) and the one who endorsed Dr Astillero’s name to my colleagues in the Philippine Consortium on Migration and Development (PHILCOMDEV) for the official nomination to the POEA Board, it is sad to note that the blockade would come from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. However, we take note of the statement of Dr Astillero “( I am sure you have no knowledge in this damaging report knowing me for quite a time )”,

    This could had been the first time that a legitimate OFW coming fresh and directly from the ranks be appointed in any Govt Line Agencies serving the Sector had it not been blocked. The staff/official of our Embassy who is blocking the appointment could have shown some courtesy by contacting the nominee and asked his side on the alleged issue of his engagement with Al-Mishari Hospital.

    For almost 6 years, my whole family have availed the excellent services of Al-Mishari Hospital. My 4 children were checked up there by their top Pediatrician (Dr. Alaa) in the early 90’s. I myself had my Tonsilectomy in that hospital in 1994 and have not heard of complaints from the attending Filipino Nurses during those time. In fact, the Nurse who took care of my Kids since the 90’s i understand is still working there (Ms. Tess Luzoriaga). Of couse Im not privy on the other issues that may have transpired after i left the Kingdom in 1998.

    The Sector was already celebrating upon hearing that Dr Astillero is to be appointed in POEA Board, we thought finally a voice in that very important policy making body would be represented legitimately. I just hope a fair inquiry/investigation be conducted and a report/explanation be provided to the Sector very soon.

    Respectfully,

    Jun S. Aguilar
    FMW Group
    Partidong Pandaigidigang Pilipino-PPP

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