Press Release
February 19, 2008

Jinggoy to uncaring RP overseas officials: "Your days are numbered!"

"Philippine officials abroad who will be proven to have refused, at one time or another, to help OFWS in distress will be punished!"

This was the stern warning aired by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, as the upper chamber gears to conduct an inquiry into complaints by several OFWs and OFW support groups that many among the country's officials overseas had neglected them.

Estrada, also chair of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment, noted the recent report by Migrante - United Arab Emirates, that a group of OFWs who complained of not being paid properly by their employers at the Al Rawasi Aggregate in Dubai's Fujeirah district, together with 12 others who claimed to be victims of illegal recruitment, brought their complaints to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) but were not attended to.

Migrante said it later accompanied the OFWs to the Philippine consular office in Dubai and sought an audience with Consul Vicente Bandillo, Labor Attache Virginia Calvez and Welfare Officer Marlyn Vail, but the three officials reportedly said they were not informed by the POLO about the OFWs' plight.

Migrante said it would report the incident, as well as other unpleasant experiences of OFWs with consular and labor officers, during a hearing by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs scheduled on February 27 on Resolution No. 248, principally authored by Senate President Manuel Villar and co-authored by Estrada, on the "allegations of bad attitude, negligence and incompetence of some Philippine embassy and consular personnel stationed in various countries in handling cases of distressed OFWs."

"This, again, is just one of already so many complaints by OFWs against overseas officials who either neglect them, or worse, even directly refuse to help them with their problems," Estrada said.

"We will not allow such indifference among our overseas officials to the problems of our OFWs. We must make sure that only the fittest and OFW-accommodating personnel will man our posts abroad dealing with diplomatic and migrant labor affairs," Estrada added.

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