• More labor attaches face recall for inaction

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    FIVE more labor attaches stationed in the Middle East and Taiwan face recall for their failure to provide the needed support and assistance to distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in their areas of jurisdiction.

    Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Wednesday directed the five concerned officials of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) to immediately report to his office to personally explain why they should not be sacked from their jobs.

    “I instructed them to report here not later than March 15 because I want them to answer me personally on what they are doing on the critical issues of OFWs in the Middle East,” said Bello.

    They were identified as Ophelia Almenario of POLO-Abu Dhabi; David Des Dicang of POLO-Qatar; Rodolfo Gabasan of POLO-Israel; Nasser Mustafa of POLO Oman; and Nasser Munder of POLO-Taichung.

    Bello added that one of the issues reported to him was the violation of the bilateral agreement between the Philippines and receiving countries in the Middle East, particularly on the $400 minimum wage of household service workers, by some employers.

    “If they knew of any violation, they should immediately blacklist the employer. Their jobs in POLO is to provide proper support and protection to our OFWS,” he added.

    Bello had earlier ordered the recall of labor atttaches Angelita Narvaez (Kuwait), Rustico dela Fuente (Riyadh) and Jainal Rasul Jr.(Jeddah).

    Narvaez was sacked for her failure to provide assistance to Filipina household service worker Amy Capulong Santiago, who succumbed to suspected beatings by her employers when brought to the Farwaniya Hospital on January 25.

    Narvaez also failed to assist distressed OFWs inside the Bahay Kalinga or the Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center, a half-way house for Filipino migrants awaiting repatriation to the Philippines.

    Dela Fuente and Rasul, on the other hand, were found to have been remiss in their jobs after they failed to attend to the needs of more than 11,000 OFWs who were stranded in Riyadh and Jeddah for a long time after they lost their jobs as a result of the economic crisis brought about by the drop in oil prices in the world market.

    Bello said that he has given strict orders to all POLO officials to conduct a 24-hour monitoring on the status of OFWs in their areas of jurisdiction and to submit a report on a regular basis.

    “They should continuously monitor the whereabouts, the welfare and the status of our foreign migrant workers. They should not act only when there is a problem, that’s unacceptable,” the Labor chief stressed.

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