In Riyadh, OFWs housed in Bahay Kalinga further dwindles to 117

Date Posted: February 25th, 2014 07:25 AM


In Riyadh, OFWs housed in Bahay Kalinga further dwindles to 117 Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed elation over the report of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Chief Carmelita Dimzon, saying the number of OFWs, or wards, being sheltered at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office's Migrant Workers and Other Filipinos Resource Center (MWOFRC), popularly known as Bahay Kalinga, has significantly dipped to only 117 as of 19 February, compared to 200 at the end of December 2013. “We are very pleased over the steady decline in the number of OFWs staying as wards in our FWRCs due to faster processing by the POLOs of their cases,” Baldoz said. She credited the continuing decline in the number of distressed OFWs at the MWOFRCs to the strict implementation of her directive to POLOs to fast-track the settlement of cases of distressed OFWs and to repatriate them as soon as possible by working closely with the Philippine Embassies in their countries of destination, by establishing rapport with licensed recruitment agencies, and by intensifying networking and coordination with immigration and labor offices of host countries, an initiative in line with the President's directive to the DOLE to work with the DFA to transform Philippine embassies, consular offices, and POLOs into centers of care and excellence and service for overseas workers. "Since 2013, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) had also strictly implemented the requirement for licensed recruitment agencies to provide within 48 hours airline tickets to OFWs they have deployed as soon as they get their exit visas," Baldoz observed. The Philippine Delegation to the 2nd RP-Saudi Joint Committee Meeting visited the Bahay Kalinga last 19 February. The delegation, at the time of its visit, learned there were 117 wards and 17 children, a much-reduced number compared to the over 200 wards in December 2013. "The children were mostly infants and toddlers and we were informed that most of the fathers of the children had left for the Philippines," Dimzon said. "Of the 117 wards, 19 were skilled workers and the rest are household service workers. Still under negotiation with their employers is the release of 42 household service workers, while 16 had ready exit visas and plane tickets ready for their repatriation to the Philippines," she added. "Thirteen (13) of the 117 OFWs have complaint-cases ranging from rape and maltreatment and these are being handled by the Assistance to Nationals Section of the Philippine Embassy," she further said. Dimzon, together with DOLE Undersecretary Danilo Cruz and POEA chief Hans Leo J. Cacdac, was in Saudi Arabia last week for the 2nd Joint Committee Meeting between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines to discuss issues under the Agreement on Domestic Worker Recruitment. Labor Attaches Dela Fuente; Jainal Rasul; Alejandro Padaen; and Assistant Labor Attache (ALA) JV Baginda accompanied the delegation during its visit to the Bahay Kalinga, where ALA Firma Bantillan and Administrative Staff Rosalie Florida, the designated Center Coordinator, welcomed the delegation members. "The OFWs expressed satisfaction with POLO's management of the Center. They thanked and lauded DOLE for being helpful and for working fast on their repatriation to the Philippines. They observed that the repatriation process has been faster than before, with tickets being produced or made available in a short time," said Dimzon. END

Created Aug 18th 2014, 16:00


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