OFW group condoles with the families of OFWs victim of Algeria hostage crisis

WE express our heartfelt condolences to the families of our fellow OFWs whose precious lives were devoted to fulfilling the dreams of their loved ones who became a ‘collateral damage’ in the recent Algeria hostage crisis,” thus expressed today by John Leonard Monterona, speaking on behalf of Migrante-Middle East, a Filipino migrants rights group in the Middle East.

On Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that there were 6 OFWs dead in Algeria hostage crisis, while 4 are missing out of the 22 OFWs working in that BP gas plant in Algeria.

Monterona said his group received information from fellow OFWs leaving and working near the Libya-Algeria borders that there were more than 30 OFWs working on that gas plant prior to the hostage crisis.

“This figure is different from the count of the DFA. There could be different figure from the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE). We call on the PH government to confirm how many OFWs are really working in that gas plant. Dead or alive, all OFWs must be accounted for and repatriated,” Monterona added.

Monterona added the Algeria hostage crisis exposes how vulnerable OFWs to terrorism and hostile acts. “It applies to all OFWs and no one is excuse. But we in the Middle East and Africa are more vulnerable to hostile acts like the Algeria hostage siege.”

Monterona said he is taking this opportunity to renew Migrante’s call to PNoy administration to provide protection to OFWs especially those working in high risk jobs and places.

“The Aquino govt. through its Labor department should call the attention of its counterpart host governments to ensure the safety and security of our fellow OFWs,” Monterona averred.

Asked what will be the effect of the Algeria hostage crisis in the deployment of OFWs, Monterona said, ‘It will have a negative impact to the Aquino govt. intensified labor export program noting its reliance to huge inflows of OFWs remittances believed to have channeled US$21-B last year.”

“Algeria is one of the fertile labor frontiers eyed by Aquino’s labor honchos and it is looking to peddling cheap labor of the millions unemployed Filipinos instead of fulfilling its mandate to generate local jobs with decent pay and benefits in the home land,” Monterona added.

“An administration that is relying heavily on peddling cheap human labor is doomed to fail and will only produce more disgruntled people,” Monterona said.

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