Wasted amnesty

A Filipino migrants rights group in the Middle East providing assistance to distressed and undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) today assailed the Philippine Embassy’s ‘greedy act’ of charging the OFWs 50% of airfare cost, full amount of the processing and overstaying fees.

Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said early December (2012), the Jordanian King granted one-month full amnesty to all overstaying and undocumented migrants.

“Around 62 distressed and undocumented OFWs in Jordan conveyed to us that they are supposed to avail the amnesty granted by the host Jordan government. Unfortunately, many of them have yet to file an application to avail for the amnesty,” Monterona said.

Thirty-two of them have been staying at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) since 2011, while 30 of them opted to stay outside the FWRC.

The FWRC is being run and manage by the Philippine Overseas Labor and Overseas Workers Welfare offices (POLO-OWWA) under the supervision of the PH embassy in Jordan.

‘It was so unfortunate that the cause of OFWs failure to avail the amnesty were due to greed and ineptness of PH embassy, labor and welfare officials in Jordan as the OFWs complained that they were told to pay 50% of their airfare and pay the corresponding fees for processing of their papers and overstaying penalty,” Monterona added.

The OFWs were pointing to a certain Sonny Saculdito, who allegedly asked them to pay the required fees in order to proceed the formalities of the amnesty application.

“This is contrary to the information we have received from our Migrante staff in Manila, which the DFA through its case officer Ariel Gatchalian confirming that the fees will be taken from the Assistance to the National (ATN),” Monterona averred.

“Undocumented at distressed OFWs na nga kinu-kutongan pa. Sana sinagot na ng PNoy govt. at DFA ang mga nasabing bayarin pamasko nila sa mga naturang OFWs. Asan ang diwa ng pasko sa kasong eto?” Monterona averred.

Aside from the 62 distressed and undocumented OFWs who wanted to avail the amnesty, there are 23 OFWs at a deportation center in Nadara, Jordan.

The amnesty will end January 4, 2013.

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