Labor and foreign affairs officials are shedding tears over beleaguered overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East who are fed to the wolves by some Philippine embassy officials who should be helping them.
C’mon, you hypocrites! Those are crocodile tears.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have long known about the wretched conditions at the embassy refugee centers, where runaway Filipino domestic workers seek refuge, but they have turned a blind eye to the situation.
The media have been reporting about how runaway Filipino maids and other workers are made to sleep on the floor in cramped refugee centers run by our embassies in the Middle East.
For one, my public service program, Isumbong mo kay Tulfo, has called the attention of the DOLE and DFA many times about the plight of runaway workers at the refugee centers, based on complaints from OFWs who used to be stay in those centers.
But the reports and pleas from the media in behalf of the beleaguered workers were consistently ignored.
Had the officials concerned listened to these complaints earlier, the activities of these predators of runaway maids at the refugee centers would have stopped a long time ago.
Akbayan Representative Walden Bello should be commended for his exposé on the hellish conditions at the refugee centers.
Why can’t labor attachés in the Middle East be like newly-elected Congressman Roy Señeres?
In 1987, I visited Señeres, then labor attaché, at his home in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Señeres, his wife Minnie and their two children lived in a cramped three-bedroom apartment which they shared with 10 Filipino domestic helpers who had run away from their Arab employers.
It was a touching sight. I wanted to weep but held back my tears.
Here was a labor official, his wife and small two children sleeping in one room—and giving up their privacy—so that the two other rooms could be occupied by the runaways.
At that time, there were no refugee centers for runaway Filipino maids in the Middle East, so the Señeres home in Abu Dhabi became a refugee camp.
I was not surprised when Señeres later became labor attaché at the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C., Philippine ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and chair of the National Labor Relations Commission
Now, Señeres is newly-elected OFW Family party-list representative.
The Universe rewards a person with a good heart.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who was a human rights commissioner before being appointed to her present post, was aghast when she learned that Joanne Urbina, who was arrested for an alleged drugs offense, was detained for five years without any charge filed against her, until the Court of Appeals ordered her release a few days ago.
“It is indeed an unfortunate and deplorable violation of (Urbina’s) constitutional and human rights… an incredible violation of the law,” said De Lima.
De Lima needs a thorough housecleaning of the national prosecution service, wheremany government prosecutors are either corrupt or lazy.