[Stop-traffic] News/Philippines: Philippine govt to act on overseas Filipino workers grievances

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Philippines: Philippine govt to act on overseas Filipino workers grievances
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Nov 15 2000 - 09:25:11 EST


Philippine govt to act on overseas Filipino workers grievances
Asia Pulse, November 2, 2000

MANILA, Philipines -- Senate President Pro Tempore Blas Ople has expressed
alarm over reports of dissatisfacton among some sectors of the overseas
Filipino workers which resulted in the decline of foreign exchange
remittances to Manila.

Ople, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, said OFWs grievances
seem to stem from failure of some government agencies to deliver services
effectively.

"We should address the legitimate grievances of our foreign workers and put
reforms in place," Ople said.

However, Ople lauded the efforts of the Overseas Workers Welfare
Administration (OWWA) [http://www.mydestiny.net/~owwa/main.html] and asked
President Estrada to consider giving the agency more powers.

The senator said that in Hong Kong, the OFWs' complaints focused on the
slow processing of passports or passport renewals by consular officials.

He said OFWs are wondering why they have to pay for baggage carts at the
Ninoy Aquino International Airport when said service is provided free in
most international airports.

An apparent result of this resentment is to remit less dollar earnings to
Manila, Ople said, although he added economic uncertainties might also
explain the decline.

Ople urged OWWA, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and the
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to get together, review their
program of work and improve their services.

Meanwhile, Ople urged President Estrada to implement the following to
increase dollar remittances from overseas workers:

- Order the DFA to speed up the processing of passports of OFWs;

- Provide the baggage carts at the NAIA at no cost to OFWs;

- Assure OFWs stable exchange rates for their foreign exchange earnings;

- Provide free pre-departure orientation seminars to OFWs; and

- Ban professional recruitment agencies from conducting pre-departure
seminars because of conflict of interest.

********
Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

Please contact me off-list for any questions about Stop-Traffic at
<<morhant@igc.org>>.

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