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POEA stops Saudi firm from recruiting Filipinos - -- NO to Trafficking --

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POEA stops Saudi firm from recruiting Filipinos
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PDF Print E-mail

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Apr 19, 2010 at 06:48 AM

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MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has stopped a Saudi Arabian labor hiring firm from recruiting Filipinos after it failed to repatriate one of workers who had run away after complaining of contract violations.

In an order dated April 12, POEA administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili temporarily suspended the processing of all job orders for the Annasban Contracting Group and its mother agency Annasban Group until the repatriation of their former employee, Marissa Pajarillo-Andes.

Manalili said the POEA notified Annasban on March 29 to facilitate an exit visa and plane ticket for Andes within 10 days in accordance with the POEA rules and the implementing guidelines of Republic Act No. 8042 or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995.

The 10-day period, however, lapsed without compliance by Annasban, according to the administrator.

Andes, 31, a native of General Natividad, Nueva Ecija, is currently staying at the Bahay Kalinga refuge center of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

She was deployed to Saudi Arabia in October 2009 and was sent to the eastern city of Taif to work as a caregiver.

Andes said she was promised a salary of 750 Saudi riyals (about P8,800) and another 127 riyals (about P1,500) for food allowance, but she only got 650 riyals with 160 riyals further deducted for her placement fee, and no food allowance.

The OFW ran away from her workplace in January. More than 100 other Annasban-hired OFWs who experienced similar situation as Andes stopped working in the following weeks; some even staged a hunger strike to get the attention of Saudi and Philippine labor officials after Annasban refused to let them go.

Many were later repatriated but according to the OFW group Migrante International, 24 more Filipinos in three Annasban barracks remain after they stopped working to protest alleged labor malpractices.

In a statement, Migrante chair Garry Martinez, said “victims” of Annasban learned of the good news while they were in POEA to attend the first hearing of the cases they filed with the group’s help against the company and its partner recruitment agencies.

At the same time, the families of the OFWs still being held by Annasban, also read the document while they were having a dialogue with POEA officials pleading for the immediate repatriation of 24 OFWs currently on work stoppage in protest of the business giant’s alleged gross labor malpractice, he said.

“We’re overjoyed with this good news. It’s an inspiration for us to continue our fight so that the sufferings of our fellow workers in Annasban be put to end and its conniving recruitment agencies punished. Our fight for justice continues,” said Helen Manlavia, one of the ex-employees of Annasban who was among the repatriated and one of the complainants in the case before the POEA.

“Now that this decision is out, we request and challenge the POEA and other agencies of the government to do all they can to repatriate my daughter and her colleagues.Their sufferings there are no joke. It is but right that those who caused my daughter and all OFWs these difficulties be punished,” added Carolina Ventura, mother of Shiela Marie, an Annasban worker who remains in the city of Abha.

Martinez noted that Annasban can resume its hiring of workers once it complies with the repatriation of Andes.

“We welcome this favorable decision. We are further challenging them (POEA) to do their job by quickly deciding for the permanent ban of Annasban. We are warning Administrator Manalili that if the POEA does not move for the total ban, she will face the wrath of the OFWs and forever be known as the official who throws Filipino workers to the dogs,” he said. --Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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