By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
 
Posted date: May 15, 2008
 
 

MANILA, Philippines — An alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East called on the government Thursday to intensify their monitoring against recruitment agencies that have been sending OFWs to Lebanon despite the deployment ban imposed by the government.

 

Migrante-Middle East said an official of the Filipino-Lebanese Friendship Association based in Lebanon claimed that around 5,000 Filipino domestic helpers have entered the eastern Mediterranean country since the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006 ended.

 

“Like in Iraq, despite deployment ban imposed by the Arroyo administration, we are wondering why there are still a considerable numbers of OFWs that have been sent to work as domestic helpers in Lebanon where a civil war is now escalating,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East’s Saudi Arabia-based regional coordinator, said in a statement sent to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

 

He urged the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to intensify its monitoring drive against recruitment agencies that were continuously sending OFWs in Lebanon and Iraq, where there was heavy internal conflict.

 

“The Arroyo administration and POEA should seriously prosecute recruitment agencies violating the deployment ban in Lebanon and Iraq to ensure that our fellow OFWs and aspiring alike will not be sent to war-torn Iraq and Lebanon,” Monterona added.

 

Reports indicated that violence has been escalating in Lebanon due to infighting of two warring Muslim factions, the Shiite and Sunni groups. Monterona said that based on Migrante’s monitoring, the unrest may escalate in the coming days.

 

An estimated 50 people have already been killed due to heavy fighting between United States-backed Lebanon government army and militia Hezbollah group that ensued when the former opted a policy of disarming the latter.

 

Early this week, Lebanon’s pro-government and opposition factions reached a deal to revoke the two decisions that sparked the fighting. On the same day, the opposition ended its civil disobedience campaign.

 

Monterona said the outbreak of hostilities put the lives of OFWs in Lebanon at great risks, referring to the estimated 25,000 OFWs there who were mostly domestic helpers.

 

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, most Lebanese employers just left their domestic helpers and were even locked inside their employer’s houses, Monterona recalled.

 

“That time Lebanese are swiftly fleeing and securing only themselves and members of their families, leaving behind our fellow OFWs at their employer’s houses, thus putting OFW lives at great risks at time when heavy bombs are pouring like rain,” Monterona said.

 

The ongoing conflict has seen many Lebanese citizens evacuating to Cyprus amid the fighting.

 

Monterona said the issuance of advisory from the Philippine government to OFWs in Lebanon to keep off the streets and just follow their employer’s instruction would not be enough, he added, as he called for a “pro-active plan” to ensure the safety and security of all OFWs in Lebanon.

 

He said that Philippine officials in Lebanon should make themselves and their offices available and that they should try to get in touch with OFWs by having available telephone hotlines in time.

 

Two years ago, over 6,000 Filipino workers were evacuated and repatriated from Lebanon following the war between Israel and Hezbollah. Many were repatriated through the help of the International Organization for Migration.
 

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9 Responses to “MIGRANTE: : Illegal deployment of Filipinos to Lebanon continues”

  1. Selim N.Attala Says:

    you are dreaming, Lebanon is now peacefull the OFW should be able to travel and return for very needy people to work

    1. Eddy Chartouny Says:

      Mr Selim N. Atalla … you are the one who’s dreaming, Lebanon is never safe. Filipinos … don’t ever think of coming to Lebanon, Lebanese people do not respect you, whatever the recruitment companies are telling you or promising you is a lie, you won’t be payed, you will be mistreated and than they will put you in jail and maybe you will die there. This is nothing but the pure truth told by a Lebanese living in Lebanon.

  2. Don Kishote Says:

    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.

    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.

    “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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    “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.

    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.

    “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.

    “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.

    Asuque lamented that some OFWs really do not listen to government advisories.

    “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.

    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

  3. Eddy Chartouny Says:

    Mr Selim N. Atalla … you are the one who’s dreaming, Lebanon is never safe. Filipinos … don’t ever think of coming to Lebanon, Lebanese people do not respect you, whatever the recruitment companies are telling you or promising you is a lie, you won’t be payed, you will be mistreated and than they will put you in jail and maybe you will die there. This is nothing but the pure truth told by a Lebanese living in Lebanon.

  4. mary grace v.garcia Says:

    im one of the illegal worker whose working now here in lebanon for almost 3yrs.just lucky n npunta s mbuting employer.skin lng about the BAN?f really a ban dpat mkgwa ng way ang govt ntin n wlang nk2lbas ng bnsa ntin.kawawa ang mga ofw n d2 n npu2nta s d mbuting employer.its not only our fault.both our govt and us.so phil govt,people of the phil who help us to come here to work us illegal worker and US,lets mke up our mind

    gya ng ofw n nkptay ng kptid ng amo at cnaksak ang alagang bt,who will help her with this situation shes into.without knowing wats the real reason of doing this.so dpat if ban tlgng mghigpit ang govt ntin for the sake of US,and our future generations.

  5. grace Says:

    me kilala ako ganyan direct hiring sila kukha ng filipino worker d2 papadala sa lebanon eto no nya resty 09183796400,every week 5 katao pinapadala nya s lebanon muntik na d2 kebigan ko,, c Gina Lampo daw ang pinaka boss nya.pero laging no show c gina lampo samin pati agency ng all-pro ginagamit nila!

  6. Josephine Nakpil Says:

    Is it safe now 2010 to work in Lebanon.Tama po ba wala ng ban at safe n mag-work dun? I was offerred to work there as a waitress.I have a little doubt,my visa is on process. In 3 wiks mkakaalis n daw po ako.

    1. nhelai Says:

      josephine nakpil.. san ka nag apply as waitress? im planning to go there kase… s

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