Stand by your rights, envoy tells Filipino expatriates

ABU DHABI — Philippine's Ambassador to the UAE, Libran N. Licudan, has urged all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), who are victims of contract substitution, to immediately report to the Philippine Embassy or to the Consulate General in Dubai so that the documents handed to the workers for signing could be scrutinised.

By Lily B. Libo-on

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Published: Wed 13 Aug 2008, 1:34 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:02 PM

The ambassador said that Filipino workers must be pro-active in understanding their rights and in standing for their rights. "They should know the officials and authorities where they can lodge their complaints and seek redress of their grievances," he said.

The Filipino ambassador issued this statement in reaction to the report published in Khaleej Times on Monday about the complaints of several Filipino workers about contract substitution.

The official said that during the pre-departure orientation (PDOS) in Manila, all Filipino workers should make it a point to know the addresses of the Philippine Embassy and Consulate and their officials.

"Although the authorities in this country have good intentions, it's unfortunate that some unfavourable situations cropped up because of some people who are principally motivated in making more money and profit," Licudan said.

He said the Filipinos were mostly shy by nature and were afraid to report they had become victims of contract substitution. "They should come to us so we can see their documents before they sign them, so that we can determine if the case is really that of contract substitution or not," he noted.

"If it's contract substitution, we can fix responsibility on the employer and the manpower agency in Manila and their local partners. We can cancel or revoke the licences of the erring agencies, ban their local partners from further labour deployment, and ask the employers to give return tickets to the distressed workers," he explained.

The ambassador said that in case the contract is not substituted, and the employer fails to fulfil the terms of the contract, the Philippine Overseas Labour Office — which represents the Philippine government— can help the distressed workers by bringing the case to the Ministry of Labour (MoL).

He also advised the distressed workers not to run away or abscond because they would be the ones to shoulder all their expenses in going back home as per the UAE labour laws.

"They should always coordinate with POLO and the UAE's MoL, and should bring the matters to the knowledge of the Philippine diplomatic posts in this country," he said.

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