“What happened to us there was really traumatic. For me, it’s not humane, it’s slavery. We were allowed to sleep for only two hours. We are also not allowed to urinate. Our food was limited. Whatever the food they left, that’s what we can only eat,” human trafficking victim, Joan Masa said.
This has been the bitter experience of Joan Masa as a house helper in Abu Dhabi for 9 months.
Masa was a victim of an illegal recruiter in Laguna.
The said illegal recruiter offered her huge salary and a good employer — But the opposite was what happened.
Joan is just among the more than 100 distressed overseas Filipino workers the Philippine Embassy gives assistance to so they could return to the Philippines.
The government also gave each of them P15,000 worth of livelihood so they could start their own business.
“Actually the Philippine government paid for their fare, they were also given fare. These OFW’s are victims of human trafficking,” DFA Migrant Workers Affairs Usec. Sarah Lou Arriola said.
“We try to make their lives comfortable, so when they arrive here, they can have something to start new lives,” she added.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are still a lot of undocumented Filipino workers in Abu Dhabi, but they are having difficulty determining their exact number because usually enter the Middle East using tourist visas.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) believes such a system can be avoided if the implementation of the Labor Cooperation Agreement of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the government of Abu Dhabi pushes through.
“Stated there is decent recruitment of the workers for UAE which means once the UAE Domestic Workers Law takes effect, like what Usec says, maybe in the first quarter of next year, all OFWs going to UAE will strictly undergo the process of the POEA strictly, there will no longer be visit and tourist visa deployment,” OWWA chief Hans Leo Cacdac said.
Based on the figures of the DFA, about 700 Filipino in Abu Dhabi were repatriated for illegal working there.
Philippine authorities continue to process the repatriation of other distressed OFWs in Abu Dhabi. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue
DFA identifies OFW found inside a septic tank in South Korea
PASAY CITY, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Monday, May 7, that it has identified the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) whose remains were found inside a septic tank in South Korea.
DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano refused to name the victim, whose identity was verified through DNA samples from relatives, so as not to preempt the ongoing investigation.
The victim, who was reported missing since last month, arrived in South Korea in 2016 and worked as a factory worker.
DFA is now expediting the repatriation of the remains of the victim while authorities are tracking the whereabouts of the prime suspect who is also an OFW. – Asher Cadapan Jr. | UNTV News & Rescue
Cayetano says no to resignation unless Duterte orders it
Department Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano
PASAY CITY, Philippines – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano maintained there is no reason for him to resign, at least for now, following reports of career diplomats allegedly calling for his ouster from the DFA.
Cayetano said he will only leave his post should President Rodrigo Duterte ask him to.
“If the President wants me to go, I will go happily and I will continue to support him,” he said.
Cayetano said though it is normal for critics to make such call, he urged them to leave the agency and its career officials out of the controversy.
The Secretary remains confident that he has the support of DFA staff behind him amid the issues.
“If a majority in the Department of Foreign Affairs says, ‘we cannot follow you,’ I have no business being there. But so far, I have had meetings with them and, so far, they understand. They might not necessarily agree with our direction, but they understand,” he concluded. – Asher Cadapan Jr. | UNTV News & Rescue
DFA opens passport appointment slots from July to September
FILE PHOTO: Philippine passports
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Wednesday that its online appointment system will start accepting new applications and renewal of passports for the months of July to September.
DFA, however, clarified that the system will not open for appointments to the DFA-Aseana Complex in Parañaque City. DFA Assistant Secretary Frank Cimafranca said this is because the e-payment system in the said consular office is still being processed.
The e-payment system is a mechanism designed by DFA which allows applicants to pay fees online. It aims to stop bogus applicants and fixers. It also fast tracks the processing of passport applications.
“This time they will not do that because they will have to pay upfront so only people with urgent and legitimate need to have a passport will really book online,” explained Cimafranca.
Following the pilot-testing conducted by DFA in the e-payment system, appearance rate of passport applicants has increased to 95%.
DFA admits that the bulk of passport applications pose a great challenge to the agency. They call on the public’s understanding of the matter.
“We are not trying to prevent people from applying for a passport. Ang pakiusap lang namin kung hindi naman kailangan agad (All we ask is that if it’s not urgent) then bear with us and just wait for the opportunity by availing online appointment system,” Asec. Cimafrance concluded. — Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue