09/28/2008 | 12:50 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Manuel Villar Jr has urged the Foreign Affairs department to form an emergency multi-sectoral group to assist the more than 7,000 Filipinos stranded in Middle East.
In a statement, Villar said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. should work with the DFA in forming concrete measures to help the stranded OFWs.
"Government must show firm resolve in ending this crisis. Assistance to our more than 7000 stranded kababayans must be immediately extended," Villar said.
According to Villar, there are 2,7000 Filipinos stranded along the Oman-United Arab Emirates (UAE) border and 5,000 more in the Iran-UAE border.
At the same time, Villar also urged the Philippine embassy in Oman to do their best to appeal to the Oman sultanate to help resolve the crisis.
"In the meantime, we expect the embassy officials to help distressed Filipinos there facilitate their visas and papers," Villar added.
Villar noted that many Filipinos were forced to leave UAE after it implemented on July 29 a new visit visa law that requires previous visa holders to reapply as tourists, resulting in the rejection of thousands of visa applications from Filipinos.
The visit visa procedure has become the easiest way for Filipinos who want to work in the Middle East, doing away with the costly and difficult process of the normal OFW deployment, he said.
Villar added that the Assistance to Nationals Fund of DFA and other OFW funds administered by OWWA must be released soonest “for immediate evacuation, safekeeping, repatriation or simply to purchase basic necessities for the distressed migrant workers.” - Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV
09/28/2008 | 01:32 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Some 24 Filipinos are now detained at a maximum security prison in Trinidad and Tobago after being arrested for working without permits, according to an online news site Sunday.
A report in Caribbean Net News said that law enforcement agents swooped down on the workers in Roxborough in Tobago and picked up 36 persons, including a 30-year-old civil engineer.
Also arrested were 11 Chinese and one Guyanese national. All of them, including the Filipinos, were brought to mainland Trinidad and detained at the maximum security prison at Golden Grove.
Philippine Honorary Consul in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Marie Arvani, visited the Filipinos and said they were well-treated, but they complained about the meals.
The report said the Filipinos and Chinese arrived at Crown Point Airport in Tobago with a one-way ticket and were promised return passage by their employers.
It said Arvani is to meet with officials of the Ministry of National Security on the matter. - GMANews.TV