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Migrant rights group, OFW victims engage Philippine labor officials to a case dialog

On October 16, 2010

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -The Kapatiran sa Gitnang Silangan (KGS), a member-organization of the OFW alliance Migrante-Middle East, along with OFW victims yesterday trooped inside the Philippine labor offices in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to a case dialog.

The case dialog was initiated by KGS-Migrante officers headed by its Chairperson Eric Jocson, Secretary-General Mike Garlan, and KGS case advisor Mario Ben, other KGS members along with OFW victims who have filed complaints against their respective company for abuses and labor malpractices.

KGS-Migrante and OFW victims have been met by Philippine overseas labor officials headed by Labor attache Albert Valenciano and OWWA welfare officer Nestor Burayag and their case officers.

“Conducting case dialog is one way of ensuring that OFWs victims’ cases would not be neglected and that the POLO-OWWA case officers would not be sitting on these cases, especially now that there is a continuous increase in the numbers of OFW victims of labor malpractices,” said Mike Garlan, KGS Secretary General.

Garlan said the case dialog will also facilitate the exchange of information of the actual incidents and facts of the OFWs cases, thus it would help our POLO and OWWA officials to get ready and plan what course of action to take in defense and protection of our OFWs labor rights.

Distress OFWs from Al-Nusha and Afras were able to air out their complaints against their respective company. They were also given a chance to speak out how disappointed they are on the actions taken so far by the POLO case officers handling their case.

“Distress OFWs lamented that nobody from POLO-OWWA attended in their first labor case hearing set on the first week of October. They were not represented during that scheduled hearing,” Garlan added.

POLO-OWWA case officers have promised to attend on these cases and would closely coordinate with the complaining OFWs especially during case hearings.

On his part, KGS Chairperson Eric Jocson said they have been conducting case dialog with RP embassy concerned officials previously but it was not on a regular basis.

“As the need arises, we normally set a case dialog with RP embassy officials; but now we would like to make it regular, let us say every Friday so that these numerous cases involving OFWs abuses and labor malpractices could be properly attended,” Jocson added.

Jocson said his group would be expecting that RP labor and welfare officials will accept their proposal of having a regular weekly case dialog.

Today, KGS-Migrante case adviser Mario Ben along with a number of undocumented OFWs who are seeking help for repatriation will be having a case dialog with RP embassy Assistance to the Nationals section.

“We have also several request for assistance involving OFWs languishing in jail as their relatives have been asking us update on their OFWs cases; we hope that we could get an update to these cases and to make it sure that these cases are moving ‘till its resolution,” Ben averred. # # #

Written by: John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator

KGS-Migrante case dialog with Philippine Overseas Labor Officials in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (15 October 2010)