Last month, over 92 undocumented OFWs in UAE were repatriated and this month, 158 Filipinas were also sent home. In a post shared from the official Facebook page of the Philippine Embassy in UAE, the 158 distressed OFWs went to POLO-OWWA Centers and most of them were victims of human trafficking. This latest repatriation has been a joint effort between the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General in Dubai.
Another post from the OFW Help Facebook Page (a newly launched social media emergency helpline for OFWs in distress), points out that the workers were have found to have left the Philippines using short-term visit visas and were promised to be issued with a work visa by illegal recruiters. The Department of Foreign Affairs warns Filipinos seeking employment abroad to avoid getting a tourist visa to secure jobs as these come with risks. Below you can find the full report form the OFW Help FB Page:
06 October 2019 – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed today the arrival of 158 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 74 from Abu Dhabi and 84 from Dubai.
“In line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to protect the welfare and well-being of Filipinos overseas, we welcome home this morning 158 OFWs, most of whom were victims of trafficking in persons,” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola.
Ambassador Hjayceelyn M. Quintana said this latest repatriation is a joint effort between the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General in Dubai.
“These workers were found to have left the country using short-term visit visas and were promised to be issued with work visa by illegal recruiters. Many of them were overworked, suffered maltreatment, and experienced contract violations by their employer,” said Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes.
The DFA reiterates its warning to Filipinos seeking employment abroad against the use of tourist or visit visas to secure overseas jobs. OFWs without the proper employment documents are more prone to abuses and exploitation by their employers. DFA has been receiving reports about illegal recruiters using a third or fourth country, usually where visa is not required for Filipinos and some countries in the Middle East, as jump-off points to send Filipino workers to banned destinations.
Since January 2019, more than 4,800 overseas Filipinos have been repatriated to the country from the UAE, costing the government over 135.34 million pesos. Meanwhile in 2018, a total of 5,842 OFWs were repatriated from Dubai and 3,533 from Abu Dhabi, amounting to more than 175.21 million pesos worth of assistance.
The DFA shouldered the maintenance and operating costs of government shelters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, cost of processing of exit visas, and their airfare to Manila and respective home provinces.
“The Philippine government strongly condemns the abuses being experienced by our OFWs in the hands of their recruiters or employers. DFA will continue to partner with other member agencies of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to prevent and suppress trafficking,” Undersecretary Arriola added.
In a strong manifestation of the government’s seriousness in addressing trafficking, together with the DFA, all the 11 IACAT member agencies and 4 NGO representatives were present today.
The IACAT is the central coordinating body that monitors and oversees the strict implementation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. It is mandated, among others, to establish the necessary institutional mechanism for the protection and support of trafficked persons and ensure the timely, coordinated and effective response to cases of trafficking in persons particularly in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking persons cases
EMBASSY AND CONSULATE GENERAL JOINTLY REPATRIATE 158 FILIPINAS; GROUP TO FILE CASES AGAINST TRAFFICKING WHEN THEY ARRIVE AT PH
05 OCTOBER 2019 – Muling nagpauwi ang Philippine Embassy sa Abu Dhabi at ang Consulate General sa Dubai ng mga Pilipinang kinupkop sa mga POLO-OWWA Centers matapos sila ay napilitang tumakas sa kanikanilang pinagtratrabahuan. Ngayong Sabado, ika-05 ng Oktubre, 2019, 158 na katao ang pinauwi lulan ng PAL PR 659. Sa pagkakataong ito ang mga pauwing Pilipina ay sasamahang pabalik ni Ambassador Hjayceelyn M. Quintana at ni Consul General Raymund Cortes.
Kahit puspusan ang ginagawang pagpapauwi patuloy pa rin ang pag-dagsa ng mga Pilipinong ito sa mga POLO-OWWA Centers. Halos lahat sila ay kasama sa mga nagnasang makipagsapalaran sa UAE kahit alam nilang hindi sila dumaan sa tamang proseso. Nanawagan ulit ang Philippine Embassy at ang Philippine Consulate General sa lahat na itigil na ang maling pamamaraan ng pangingibang-bayan sapagkat walang idudulot ito kundi hinagpis at pagsisisi. END