06 September 2010

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OFW on Repatriation and Deportation

This morning headline is 97 OFW from Kuwait to arrive home,according to Yahoo News and GMA News TV the Department of Foreign Affairs said that most workers left their employers for various reasons and sought refuge to the government run rescue center.

This is not new to the Philippines at anytime probably theres a worker who need help from the abuse of their employer. Hoping for the best Philippine consular offices should be there to rescue. Absconded OFW were common in the Middle East especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The reasons are abuse including rape,unpaid monthly wages,harassment,longer working hours with no overtime, none conducive accommodation, deviation of contract and agreement.

Let me clearly define what does repatriation and deportation means. Repatriation means an act of returning to the country of origin while deportation is a forced transport of person outside of the area where they live. However, both repatriation and deportation has to undergo police scrutiny and perhaps subject to temporary imprisonment of the host country. The police will then exercise legal proceedings by summon the workers employers in order to surrender the employee passport and pay pending obligations. This would take a long process perhaps months or even years.Deportation in most cases has been aggravated by the employee misdemeanor. The employees dignity were threatened on this case just like OFW will be handcuffed during boarding process and on its way up to the plane. This is so humiliating but this what really happened.

Here in Muscat The Sultanate of Oman the situations were quite different though the Philippine Embassy has numbers of absconded cases of OFW mostly domestic helper but the scenario were not as complicated in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. Last June 2010, The Government of the Sultanate of Oman has given Amnesty to all overstaying expatriates. Philippines Embassy and other embassies in Oman has taken it course to properly document the amnesty program granted by the Sultan of Oman His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. Our very own overstaying OFWs' very lucky to enjoy such freedom of going home without any financial burden. A very good friend of mine Ate Shiony was one of them. She went home happily after more than 10 years of TNT (tago ng tago)in the country. She finally went home with pride and intact dignity and of course!some gifts or "pasalubong" on hand.

What happened in Kuwait and here in Oman should also be done in all embassies anywhere in the globe. I guess this is a protocol for preserving the dignity of our Overseas Workers. The phrase that OFWs' are unsung heroes of today will always be nothing but a cliche if and if the Philippine government and the rest of the consular offices will not protect and preserve Overseas workers right and dignity.
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