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 40 OFWs return home from Maldives ordeal

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Female Number of posts : 880
Registration date : 2008-01-06

PostSubject: 40 OFWs return home from Maldives ordeal   Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:46 pm

Forty overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) recently returned to the country from Maldives after they reportedly suffered unjust working conditions such as the non-payment of wages and lack of food and potable water.

“Ang bawat araw sa Maldives ay bangungot. Pinabayaan kami ng aming employer. Wala nang sweldo, wala pang pagkain. (Everyday in Maldives was a nightmare. Our employer did not take care of us. We weren’t paid, we weren’t fed)," said Danny Catalon, who returned home with 39 others on October 2 at 2 p.m. via flight MH 704.


According to Senator Manuel Villar, among the OFWs who returned are:

1. Abraham Sanchez
2. Joel Miguel
3. Elbert Mercado
4. Joel Rivo
5. Edwin Rullan
6. Adonis Mingaracal
7. Chito Cairas
8. William Ginez
9. Saturnino Repato
10. Mario Adriano Jr.
11. Edchel Ariate
12. John Mar Javier
13. Louie Nabor
14. Albino Bernabe Jr.
15. Ruben Rosario
16. Michael Tubo
17. Edmar Persona
18. Dionicio Antalan
19. John Paul Doctolero
20. Jeffren Amboy
21. Joy Ladera
22. Sandy Lumanog
23. Divo Turqueza
24. Jomar Bilgera
25. Jefte Juralbal
26. Rommel Viernes
27. Jervie Louie Banot
28. Julimar Pabro
29. Zaldy Acumabig
30. William Nicolas
31. Valero Cabarubias

Catalon said that their employer Ashley Alexis Builders Corporation fed them with spoiled food and they had to rely on rainwater passing through the filtration pipes for their drinks.

Migrante International, which brought the case of the workers to public attention, said the contracts of the OFWs clearly stipulate that they are supposed to receive “free, suitable, and comfortable" housing facilities, “adequate and nutritious" meals or adequate compensatory allowance of $50 or more than P2,400 per month, and free medical and dental services including medicine and hospitalization.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier instructed the Philippine Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh to check on the situation of the workers, whose number was then pegged to at 60.

The Philippine Embassy in Bangladesh has consular jurisdiction over Filipinos residing and working in Maldives, a tourism destination in the Indian Ocean.

Maldives, famous for its pristine islands and clear waters, stretches south of India’s Lakshadweep islands, southwest of Sri Lanka. It is the smallest Asian country in terms of both population and area, and is predominantly Muslim.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Carmelita Dimzon told GMANews.TV that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) had directed the local recruitment agency of the OFWs to assist in their repatriation.

“Yes, nagpunta ang relatives ng workers yesterday and the repatriation unit has already directed (the) deploying agency to provide repatriation assistance," POEA chief Jennifer Manalili told GMANews.TV in a text message.

The local recruiter of the workers is the Mayonview International Manpower Services located in Malate, Manila. Under OWWA policies, the local manpower agency has the first obligation to repatriate its workers in distress.

But Senator Manuel Villar, who was also contacted by the OFWs, said the workers were only able to return home with the help of the Maldivian government.

Villar said he welcomed the OFWs at the airport and also provided them with medical assistance and transportation to their provinces in Apayao, Isabela, Kalinga, Cagayan, Pangasinan, Bulacan, La Union, Negros Occidental and the Bicol region.

"Not only must they be given immediate and adequate medical attention, but our OFWs must also get their due wages and compensation for damages," Villar said. He added that the remaining OFWs in Maldives should be “promptly repatriated."

The OFWs, assisted by Migrante International, are set to file a case against their employer and agency for contract substitution and other abuses on October 15. - GMANews.TV
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