Govt. responsibility to protect overseas Filipino workers can’t be waived –migrant group
15 April 2011
“A government that relinquishes its primary responsibility of protecting its own working people abroad is an irresponsible government,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Migrante’s Monterona is reacting to the PH embassy’s requirement to returning OFWs (http://philembassy-bahrain.com/), Bahrain-bound, to sign a waiver, in effect, will free the PH government from its accountability to returning OFWs who will insist on returning to Bahrain.
“We understand that the peace and order situation in Bahrain, like in Yemen, Syria, and Libya, is still fragile; but requiring our fellow OFWs to sign a waiver so that they’ll be allowed to go back to Bahrain smacks the government primary duty and sincerity of protecting its own working people,” Monterona added.
Monterona said returning OFWs to Bahrain are not naïve enough not to see what’s is happening there, but on the other hand, they are much worried of their families’ daily survival, amid the price increases of basic commodities and services and grinding poverty in the Philippines. With Oil deregulation law, the government becomes inutile amid oil price hikes.
“What would happen if they could not come back soon for work as their employers are requiring them to report for work after their vacation, otherwise they’ll be fired out of their job,” Monterona averred.
Monterona said requiring returning OFWs to issue a waiver is a big hypocrisy of the government who is pretending to care and protect OFWs but in fact has done little to honestly provide protection to them while abroad.
Monterona suggested the PH embassy in Bahrain could, for instance, arrange with the host government to escort arriving OFWs from the airport to their respective accommodations upon their arrival in Bahrain, just to secure their safety.
Monterona added the PH embassy could even talk to the OFWs employers that they’ll be escorted, back and forth, going to their job site and to their accommodations, again to ensure that our working OFWs will be safeguarded.
“Now following what I have suggested and there could be many more, what’s the use of the waiver? Could it be a help in safeguarding our OFWs? Certainly a big No!,” Monterona exclaimed.
The Saudi-based Migrante leader calls on fellow OFWs in Bahrain especially those returning OFWs to oppose this waiver requirement as he said responsibility of providing safety to OFWs could not be waived by the government. (end)
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator