Migrant group urges PH govt to ready evacuation plan of OFWs from ‘disturbed’ Bahrain

IMPLYING the political situation in Bahrain would escalate in the coming days, a Filipino migrant rights group, Migrante-Middle East, calls on the Aquino government to ready evacuation plan of OFWs out of Bahrain.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator said, citing local reports, Wednesday there is an estimated 10,000 Bahraini dissenters gathered in Bahrain’s capital city, Manama, at the main roundabout landmark called ‘Pearl roundabout’, which now is unofficially named by protesters as ‘Nation’s Square’.

“According to reports we have received from fellow OFWs working in Bahrain, protesters have encamped and stayed overnight at the ‘Pearl Roundabout’, an event that never seen in Bahrain from the past,” Monterona said.

On February 13 and 14, dissenters staged a demonstration political reforms and freedom from their government. On said demonstrations, 2 protesters have died after protest swelled onto unexpected proportions when clashes ensued between police and protesters.

“We have been hearing from fellow OFWs, though unconfirmed, there were two OFWs who were among the casualties during the clashes between the police and protesters two days ago,” Monterona averred.

Citing POEA records, there are more or less 15,000 OFWs deployed in Bahrain, including new hires and re-hires. Monterona, however, said: “To our close estimate there are about 30,000 OFWs in Bahrain, including both documented and undocumented.”

“But it seems that the Tunisian and Egyptian ‘revolutions’ are contagious sweeping other Arab states,” Monterona, also citing that in Jordan, political dissenters are also demanding the ouster of its prime minister.

“We could only hope that the Arab peoples’ popular discontent would not reached Saudi Arabia, where there are about 10-M migrant workers. While, there

are about 1.2-M OFWs working in Saudi Arabia,” the Saudi-based OFW leader lamented.

Monterona added: “Under adverse uncertainties while political events unfold in Arab states, it is but wise and prudent on the part of the Aquino government that as early as this time, to prepare standing contingency plans to secure the safety of our OFWs in Bahrain and the more than a million OFWs working in Saudi Arabia and nearby Arab countries. It is not easy, for instance, to evacuate the 1.2-M OFWs in Saudi Arabia.”

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