Jinggoy brings home 20 OFWs from Dubai

Posted on October 29, 2012

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MANILA—Senate President Protempore Jinggoy Estrada on Monday arrived from Dubai with 20 distressed overseas Filipino workers in tow.

Estrada, chair of the Senate labor committee, said he initially learned about the workers awaiting repatriation in Dubai from Grace Princesa, the country’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates when he made a stopover to the Philippine consulate before heading to Vatican City to witness the canonization rites of St. Pedro Calungsod.

The Senate is currently on recess and will resume its regular session next week.

An e-mailed statement from Estrada’s office listed the workers as follows: Mary Chell Afable, Lariza Arceo, Janet Bentero, Jonnalyn Belmosao, Rowena Carao, Anabel Cortez, Maida Esmael, Sittie Mariam Gudal, Cherry Lyn Larosa, Mary Joy Mangad, Nerissa Molleda, Jelleny Morabe, Maria Malaya Padilla, Diana Lou Publico, Maria Leni Regino, Noraida Sambutuan, Bariya Lipai Sawaldi, Michelle Torio, Angelina Uyammi, and Clarence Viscarra.

The party arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on board an Emirates Airlines flight. Estrada’s office said the senator shouldered the travel expenses of the OFWs back to Manila.

Estrada earlier told the INQUIRER in an overseas call that the OFWs he helped repatriate had all fled abusive employers.

He said the Filipinos were subjected to “overwork, physical and verbal abuse, lack of food and rest and unpaid salaries.”

“Almost everyday there is a new case of maltreatment (among) our (overseas) household service workers,” the senator said in his e-mailed statement.

“As per Labor Attache; Delmer Cruz, an estimated 1,000 Filipino migrant workers abscond from their visa sponsors, who are also their employers, every year,” added Estrada, also the chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment.

Quoting data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Estrada said the UAE ranks second to Saudi Arabia in terms of number of land-based “new hires” and “rehires.” In 2010, there were 201,214 land-based workers deployed to UAE.

UAE also ranks third next to Hong Kong and Kuwait in terms of number of deployed household service workers, is host to 13,184 Filipino household service workers.

“Domestic workers are really the most vulnerable sector of our labor force to abuse and exploitation, here or abroad. Many OFWs, about a hundred of them, are still waiting for repatriation (in Dubai) pending the release and approval of their papers. I urge the administration to further intensify its efforts to assist the OFWs in distress and ensure their safety and protection,” Estrada said. / INQUIRER

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