Friday, December 10, 2004

NR1130: Beltran challenges Dante Ang

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release November 30 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Rep. Beltran challenged newly-appointed Commissioner on Overseas Filipinos
Dante Ang to act on reports of 200 stranded OFWS in Saudi

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today expressed skepticism over
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's appointment of her former publicist Dante
Ang as head of the Commission on Overseas Filipinos (COF), saying that Ang's
work experience has had nothing to do with overseas employment or migrants.
He also said that Ang's appointment will further fuel already rife
speculations that GMA is going to fill her newly-revamped cabinet with private
individuals to whom she owes for their help in the May polls. He said,
however, that Ang already has numerous tasks laid out before him that demand
immediate attention.

"Since he accepted the position, he should take action now and the public will
see if he's fit for the job or not," he said. Beltran called Ang and the
Department of Foreign Affairs secretary Roberto Romulo to alarming reports of
migrant organizations that there are some 200 stranded Filipinos in Saudia
Arabia who are now thinking of going to Iraq and find jobs there instead as
a result of the alleged neglect of the Philippine consulate officials in the
kingdom on the plight of the workers in the war-torn Middle Eastern state.

Beltran said that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Malacanang itself
should immediately order the repatriation and sacking of Philippine Ambassador
to Saudi Arabia Bahnarim Guinomla a for abandoning of his responsibility for
the distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"News of stranded Filipino in the Middle East have become frequent- and who
else do we have to blame for this but Philippine foreign affairs officials the
likes of like Guinomla who neglect their duties. More and more OFWs are being
subjected to harrowing conditions - they're being forced to contend with
various kinds of abuses. The number of undocumented Filipino workers who
crossed over to Iraq from Saudi continue to swell as the Philippine embassy in
Saudi turns a blind eye to the situation of OFWs in Saud," he said.

Beltran noted reports from Migrante International that over 200 OFWs have been
documented to be roaming the streets of Jeddah in search of food and shelter.
"Many of them are reportedly crossed the line of desperation, and are seriously
considering going to Iraq if the Philippine Embassy in Saudi will not act on
their immediate needs," he said.

He also accosted the the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for branding the
existence of stranded workers as 'dubious claim.' "Stranded workers have been
pouring through the halls of the Philippine consulate in Jeddah, approaching
officials and asking them for assistance and provisions for food and shelter.
Many have also asked help for their repatriation since the first week of
November," he insisted.

Beltran said that leaders of Migrante International in Saudi have already
reported the current situation of the stranded workers in the kingdom to Consul
General Pendosina Lomondot, who, in turn, promised that "as soon as the Ramadan
holiday ends, we will begin working on your complaints."

Lomondot even reportedly instructed Vice Consul Jose Jacob, Labor attaché Nasser
Munder and administrative officer Taha Guinomla, who were present during the
dialogue, to make sure the promise was fulfilled. "Ramadan is over, but nothing
has happened. Our kababayans are still stranded and have taken to roaming the
streets like mendicants," Beltran said.

On Nov. 21, 63 of the stranded workers went to the consular office to follow up
their cases, but many of the OFWs were reportedly harassed by men and hired
goons allegedly upon the orders of (Taha) Guinomla, brother of the Philippine
ambassador to Saudi Arabia. 63 OFWs who attended a dialogue with Consul General
Lomondot were harassed inside the Jeddah Philippine consulate by hired goons
upon orders of Consulate's Chief Admin. Taha Guinomla, the sister of RP
Ambassador to KSA Bahnarim Guinomla.

Beltran said that the Migrante chapter in Jeddah initially submitted to the
Consulate officials 176 names of stranded workers under its care who need food,
shelter and immediate repatriation.
Fifty percent of these OFWs came from Riyadh, while others from Abha, Qassim,
Khamis Mushyat and other places in the kingdom. According to Migrante, the
increasing number of stranded OFWs in Saudi
Arabia resulted from the abuse and maltreatment of their employers. Some of them
claimed to have escaped from their employers for not having been paid their


Post a Comment

<< Home