http://www.gmanews.tv/story/136557/Dont-come-to-Lebanon-ambassador-tells-OFWs

Don’t come to Lebanon, ambassador tells OFWs
KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMANews.TV

11/29/2008 | 01:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine ambassador to Lebanon on Saturday reminded Filipino job seekers to respect the deployment ban to the Mideastern country and spare themselves from trouble.
Ambassador Gilbert Asuque made the appeal on Vice President Noli de Castro’s radio program after members of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group under De Castro’s office stopped several would-be OFWs bound for Lebanon using tourist or visit visas.

Some of the illegally recruited workers admitted to De Castro that they were offered good salaries but were not given any contracts or documentation required by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Sana naman ho maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan na ang ating ginagawang total ban ay para sa kanilang kapakanan nila (I hope our fellow Filipinos understand that we are implementing the ban for their own sake),” Ambassador Asuque said.

Mr. Ambassador, pag kumakalam ang sikmura kahit sa gyera any tutungo. Ano nga ba ang programa ng gobyerno or ni Ka Noli para sa kababayang ito?  Kung wala, eh di expect na lang kayo na hindi mawawala ang problema ng mg distressed and abused OFWs sa Lebanon hanggat hindi pinaparusahan ang mga recruiters nila.
Worker deployment to Lebanon was banned in 2006 when violence between Hezbollah and Israeli forces escalated.
At that time, some 6,000 OFWs, many of them undocumented, were repatriated to the Philippines. Some 26,000, however, opted to stay out of fear of losing their jobs or because they were not allowed by their employers to leave.

Despite the ban, Asuque on Saturday said the total number of Filipinos in Lebanon was estimated to have swelled to more 30,000 due to the continuing entry of Filipinos there on tourist visas.

Although many OFWs have asserted that there is no more security threat in Lebanon, Asuque said that the real problem is that there are no labor laws to protect foreign guest workers in the said country.

Tumpak po kayo, G. Ambassador, sa usaping yan. Hindi ang gyera sa Lebanon ang real problem kung bakit kailangan mag work ban sa Lebanon. Dahil ang problema mismo ay yung mga employer. Hindi naman kaya mag pasweldo, nakikiuso lang yung iba, kaya naman mga OFW ang kinawawa. Ang dapat, hulihin yung recruiter at i declare na persona-non-grata yung Lebanese na recruiter.  Yung mga engineering at teaching graduates natin, pwede mag apply sa Nigeria. Di hamak na kayang mag pa sweldo ng marangal dito sa Nigeria. Pwera lang ma 419.
Tulad nung 2006, walang batas sa Lebanon na may proteksyon ang foreign guest workers kaya ‘wag muna ho kayo pupunta dito (Just like in 2006, there are no laws in Lebanon that protect foreign guest workers, that’s why you shouldn’t go here yet),” he said.
Sana ipagliban muna nila ang plano nilang magtrabaho sa Lebanon. ‘Wag ho muna, ayusin ho natin muna ang problema (I hope they will not push through with their plans to work in Lebanon. Please don’t until we’ve fixed the problem),” he added.
Eh, ang problema nga po ay walang trabaho sa Pilipinas. Hindi pwedeng ipagpaliban ang gutom at pag pa aral sa mga anak.
Maliban na lang kung si Ka Noli, imbes na laging mag pa pogi, eh tulungan na relocate yung mga :Lebanon OFWs sa ibang bansa sa pamamagitan ng ‘bridging employment’ na pasiunahan ng POEA.
He said that ban will be only temporary, just until the Philippine government and the Department of Foreign Affairs have come up with a solution to the problem.
Anong temporary. Ke temporary or permanent yung ban, it doesn’t matter. Marami pa ring OFW ang mapupunta dyan. Ang solution, hulihin at parusahan yung nag re recruit sa Pilipinas. Pagkatapos, alamin ng embahada sino ang Lebanese recruiter or agency at ireklamo ito sa Lebanese government para pag bayarin sa mga backwages at penalties ng mga na abuse na OFWs.
One of the problems, he said, is that Filipino workers are promised $300 or almost P15,000 for their minimum wage while the minimum pay in Lebanon is actually $333 or more than P16,000.
Dahil nga hindi naman lahat ng mga Lebanese may kaya. Karamihan nakikigaya, pa sosyal. Di naman pala kayang magpa sweldo.
As additional proof of the lack of labor laws protecting OFWs in Lebanon, he said that there are already about 70 Filipino runaways staying at the Philippine Embassy there – most of whom are newly deployed but have already experienced several kinds of abuse.
Assuming na wala nang Lebanon ban, dapat, i require ng POEA na yung mga potential Lebanese empoyer na mag undergo ng psychological testing. At merong bank certificate na nagpapatunay na kaya nilang mag pa sweldo ng foreign HSW. At mga walang criminal record. or previous record ng abuse to a foreign HSW.
Ang iba ho diyan eh kadarating lang tapos nag-run away na. Yung iba nahihirapan, nalulungkot, yung iba hindi binabayaran (Some of them have just arrived but have ran away already. Some suffered, some were just sad, some were not even paid),” he said.
Eh wala kayong magagawa dyan kundi ang tulungan sila ng buong puso. Hindi yung parang masakit pa sa loob nyo na nag ka problema sila. Dapat na ginagawa nyo, eh, i counsel sila at tulungan makauwi. At pag nakauwi, hopefully sila na magsasabi kung ano ang kanilang karanasan. Hindi matatapos ang problemang ito kasi walang suporta ang gobyerno sa pIlipinas. Pag uwi ng Lebanon OFW, baon doble sa utang. At anong tulong ang ibinigay ni Ka Noli o nang gobyerno? Wala. Pinagalitan pa ang kawawang OFW.
This, he said, was because employers want to get back the money they paid the recruiter which usually amounts to $2,000 or about P98,000 – a matter which Vice President De Castro found outrageous.
Dapat dito, ipakulong yung Pinoy na recuiter. Tapos “persona-non-grata” yung Lebanese na recruiter.
Kaya nga pumunta diyan kasi walang pera eh (But the reason why they went there is because they have no money),” De Castro remarked during the same radio interview.
Palakpak. Nakuha nyo rin po.
Kaya nga binaban natin eh, kasi kung maganda dun, ieencourage pa namin ang mga tao na pumunta dun (That’s why we implemented the ban, because if the situation there is good, we’ll even encourage you to go)” he added.
Oh eh bakit ayaw nyo tanggalin ang ban sa Nigeria? Hindi naman buong Nigeria ang delikado. Dito po kayo mag encourage ng trabaho. Maraming oportunidad dito para sa mga skilled workers.
Asuque lamented that some OFWs really do not listen to government advisories.
Mr. Ambassador, pag kumakalam ang sikmura kahit sa gyera any tutungo. Ewan ko bakit patay-malisya kayo at gobyerno kung bakit nag pupumilit ang mga kababayan nating suungin ang panganib para sa kakarampot na dolares..
Ang problema sa mga kababayan natin hindi kinikilala ang total ban sa Lebanon (The problem with our fellow Filipinos is that they do not recognize the total ban to Lebanon),” he said.
He said that some who were saved in 2006 have already returned to Lebanon.

While those who entered Lebanon despite the ban did so voluntarily, Asuque said it is still the government’s job to bring them home.

Natural, hindi ba gobyerno natin is a government of the people and by the people?? Anong nirereklamo ng gobyerno? Eh kaming mga registered OFWs at nagbayad ng POEA/OWWA fees, eh, hindi nga kami umaangal na yung nakikinabang sa mga bayad namin ay yung mga kapwa OFWs na illegal. Tapos gobyerno pa aangal sa gastos? Kung hugas-kamay kayo, eh dapat isara na ang embahada ng Pilipinas sa Lebanon..air bi mawtek..
Meanwhile, the Philippine ambassador said that he was still thankful to the Lebanese government for trying to come up with a solution to RP’s predicament.
Tumutulong ang Lebanese government, gumagawa sila ng paraan, kaya lang di agad aksyon kasi maraming konsultasyon (The Lebanese government is helping, they are trying to find a way, however, there is no immediate action because there are many consultations),” he said. – GMANews.TV

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