Maza signs covenant for OFW protection; scores Arroyo government for criminal neglect
NP-MAKABAYAN senatorial candidate Rep. Liza Maza today signed a seven-point covenant with Migrante International for the protection of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as she criticize the Arroyo government for "gross criminal neglect" of the OFWs' plight.
"We are practically living by the sweat of our OFWs and they justly deserve government protection of their working and living conditions abroad, something which the current Macapagal-Arroyo administration has been badly remiss. This is gross criminal neglect," Maza said.
"A case in point is that of 19 distressed women OFWs unduly held in the Annasban company barracks in Abha, Saudi Arabia," Maza pointed out.
The NP-MAKABAYAN senatorial bet and women's advocate earlier called for the immediate repatriation of the distressed women workers . They were not given the rightful salary, illegal fees were deducted, were made to work for more than 8 hours without overtime pay, and denied of any health insurance. They were hired by Annasban as caregivers for various rehabilitation centers and were deployed by POEA-sponsored recruitment agencies in the Philippines such as UPPI, Saveway, Global, and Placewell.
“Migrante Middle East has already endorsed their case to the attention of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh who has jurisdiction over the case, but until now there is no clear response and action to their complaints. The OFWs have been languishing in Saudi Arabia for over three months now but they have yet to be repatriated by the Philippine government,” Maza said.
Speaking before a press conference at the Greenhouse Grill in Quezon City, Maza said that the covenant is an "expression of unity with our OFWs to assert their economic and democratic rights especially with the intensified exploitation of Filipino labor under neoliberal policies and an aggravated domestic crisis."
OFW remittances last year reached $17.3-million with the country's finances growing dependent on it as trade deficits and tightened loans beset the economy. The World Bank has proposed to use migrant worker's remittances to buoy up distressed economies.
The Covenant signed by Rep. Maza with Migrante International is among the labor advocacies being promoted by the MAKABAYAN Coalition in its alliance with the Nacionalista Party. ###