“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
Filipinos in Saudi Arabia reminded of punishment over spreading rumors, fake news
Saudi flag flying over consulate building | REUTERS
KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA – The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has warned Filipinos in the Kingdom to “avoid producing, spreading, or sharing electronically, anything that compromises public order, religious values, public morals and privacy.”
In an advisory released October 17, the Embassy said the Saudi government considers these activities as cyber crimes.
Those who will be caught guilty of the practice will be punished with imprisonment of up to five years and payment of fines up to three million Saudi riyals or about P43 million.
The advisory further stated that similar penalty will be applied if rumors and fake news are prepared and shared electronically, or if said information remains stored in a computer and in various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Messenger and Instagram among others. – Marje Pelayo
DFA urges immediate repatriation of 21 Pinoy seafarers from India
MV Evangelia M; abandoned seafarers at Kakinada port in India
PASAY CITY, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is putting more pressure on Evic Human Resources Management for the immediate repatriation of 21 Filipino seafarers abandoned at Kakinada port in India.
Philippine Vice Consul to India JB Santos together with an Indian Honorary Consul visited the 21 Filipinos to check on their situation.
They were abandoned by a Greek International Company over bankruptcy.
Since then, they suffered months without salary, with nothing to send their families in the Philippines.
Santos and his team explained to them the process that they have to go through before their repatriation.
Though the process may take about a month, the abandoned crew members are relieved as their case is now being processed.
The DFA also provided them with financial assistance at least for their personal needs while waiting to be repatriated.
“Nag bigay din ang DFA ng cash assistance na $100 dollars bawat crew. At least may pantawag na kami ulit at pang-internet. Humingi din kami ng legal assistance para makuha yung unpaid wages at nangako naman si Vice Consul JB Santos na magagawa nila yun, na kukuha sila ng magaling na lawyer,” the ship’s captain, Alexander Apao said.
They expressed gratitude to those who continue to extend a helping hand despite their situation.
“Natuwa pa rin ang crew kahit matagalan pa kami ng konti at least may maliwanag na makakauwi kami. Malaki ang pasalamat ng crew sa DFA at na-aksyunan agad ang aming kalagayan dito at sa UNTV na laging nakatutok at maipaalam itong aming kalagayan,” Apao concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)
DFA shortens waiting period for passport applications
(File photo) Philippine passport and application form
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs announced that beginning October 1, applicants who paid P950 processing fee can collect their passports at the DFA consular offices in Metro Manila within 12 working days, while those who paid P1,200 processing fee may pick up their passports within 6-7 days.
Applicants outside Metro Manila may collect their passports after 12 working days instead of the previous 20.
Those who availed the expedited processing may get their passports after 7 working days instead of 10.