Tuesday, May 17, 2011

100 OFWs with kids seek repatriation: Migrante

MANILA, Philippines - More than a 100 undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with children have been seeking repatriation since January.
This is according to John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of Filipino migrants’ rights group providing assistance to distressed and stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia.
Monterona obtained the information from an official of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), who asked not be named.  He added that this number includes only the OFWs who have sought assistance from Riyadh and nearby cities in the central region of Saudi Arabia.
“The undocumented OFW mothers and children are temporarily staying at their friends and fellow OFWs’ rented houses,” Monterona added. The undocumented OFWs cannot stay in the embassy-run Bahay Kalinga, a Philippine government facility where female OFWs can seek refuge while waiting for repatriation.
Monterona was told by the POLO official that as a matter of policy, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration cannot admit the undocumented OFW mothers and their children to Bahay Kalinga.
“This is an outright disservice to undocumented mothers and children. If they could not be admitted to Bahay Kalinga, then the Philippine embassy should work for their repatriation and plead to the host government to treat their case as special for humanitarian consideration,” Monterona suggested.
According to the POLO official, OFW mothers and their children can avail of a special deportation process pending the approval of Saudi authorities. Monterona said, however, that this process is not being maximized as a means of sending undocumented OFWs back to the Philippines.
Monterona called on the Aquino government, specially Vice President Jejomar Binay, to attend to the concerns of undocumented OFWs and their children.
“One mother told us that her children have not been to school and they are growing fast,” Monterona said

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