25 OFWs jailed in Qatar granted amnesty

Published by rudy Date posted on April 3, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Twenty-five overseas Filipino workers currently jailed in Qatar have been granted amnesty and will soon be freed, according to Vice President Jejomar Binay, the presidential adviser on OFW concerns.

In a statement sent from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Binay said the release of the 25 workers who are in Qatari jails for various offenses was the result of a series of bilateral discussions between him and top officials of Qatar during his two-day visit there.

“We are grateful to the government of Qatar for extending amnesty to our kababayans. This underscores the strong ties between the two countries which will be even stronger in the coming years,” he said.

Binay said he has already instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to expedite the repatriation of the workers.

“As soon as their plane tickets are available, they can come home,” he said, adding that the Qatar government has also assured him that the Philippines will be one of their primary sources for manpower with the expected construction boom in 2012 in connection with Qatar’s preparations for hosting the 2020 World Cup.

“Qatar looks forward to hiring more Filipinos in the next few years, and is set to hold discussions to facilitate their deployment,” Binay said.

There are 2,000 Filipinos employed in Qatar at present.

Binay said Qatar is expected to send a representative to the Philippines this month as a member of the technical working committee that will be formed to set the requirements for the recruitment and deployment of the workers.

The Vice President arrived in Saudi Arabia last Friday to begin a four-day visit. He is set to meet with officials of the Philippine embassy, dialogue with the different Filipino organizations, and visit OFWs who have sought shelter in the Bahay Kalinga run by the Philippine Labor Office and OWWA.

As part of his visit to Saudi Arabia, Binay will also discuss labor issues with officials of the Saudi government.

DILG bares teeth against illegal recruitment

Meanwhile, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo has called on the support of local government units in the fight against illegal recruitment and human trafficking by strictly inspecting and monitoring the operations of licensed recruitment agencies in their respective areas.

Robredo made the call after the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and the Anti-Illegal Recruitment Task Force met recently to discuss and jointly address illegal recruitment and trafficking issues in the country.

In his directive to provincial governors, city and municipal mayors and the regional governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Robredo urged local executives to immediately revoke the business permit of agencies found to be engaged in illegal recruitment and human trafficking and effect the filing of appropriate charges against them.

He also warned local executives who fail to decisively act on illegal recruitment and human trafficking concerns in their respective localities of disciplinary actions for gross negligence or dereliction of duty.

Robredo, also the chairperson of the National Police Commission (Napolcom), directed Philippine National Police chief Director General Raul Bacalzo to monitor and help address the problems and cause the filing of charges against illegal recruiters and human traffickers.

“I expect the submission of periodic reports on your accomplishments regarding the anti-illegal recruitment and –trafficking campaigns to the Napolcom,” he said. –-Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) with Pia Lee-Brago, Jose Rodel Clapano

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