Migrant group urges PHL govt. to question US State department baseless report

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Nov 18 2010

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - AN alliance of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East today urges Malacanang to question the report issued by the US Department of State linking OFWs as source of funds, among other sources, for the extremist Abu Sayaf Group (ASG).

Citing news reports, the US State department issued its country report on terrorism dated August 5 saying “The ASG is funded through acts of ransom and extortion and may receive funding from external sources such as remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and possibly Middle East-based extremists.”

Reacting to this, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said this is quite alarming because such report is unfounded, unfair, and irresponsible as there is no truth to it.

“Such sweeping accusation linking OFWs as source of ASG's funds is unjust; OFWs, in the first place, are forced to accept jobs overseas due to anti-labor policies of the government such as contractualization, union busting, meager wages, lack or no benefits, among many others, and no available decent jobs for them in the Philippines,” Monterona said.

Monterona added such baseless report linking OFWs as funds sources for ASG pose a serious threat not only to the jobs of OFWs but as well as to their rights and well being's safety.

“It may send a wrong signal to the host governments especially here in the Middle East, who are active on its campaign against “terrorism” of extremists groups that is believed to have link to ASG in Mindanao,” Monterona averred.

He cited for instance the Saudi government's intensified efforts and campaign against terrorist groups in its neighboring country Yemen near its borders where these terrorist groups are believed to have established strength.

Monterona said OFWs and their families should be spared from “war on terror” as they should not be a target of attack.

“For OFWs protection, we demand from the Aquino government to question this baseless report of linking OFWs as source of funds for ASG, and ask the US government to clear and clarify it,” Monterona ended. # # #

Written by:

John Leonard Monterona

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East