Monday, October 11, 2010

RP mission in UAE to hold outreach program

Philippine diplomatic and labor officials will hold an outreach program in two areas in the United Arab Emirates this weekend to cut down the large number of applicants for travel documents.

An 18-member team from the Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Dubai will hold the program in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah on Saturday.

“The outreach program will help reduce this number as applicants from RAK and Fujairah will not have to queue up at the Consulate," Consul General Benito Valeriano said in an article posted on UAE news site Khaleej Times Friday.

He said the mission will cater to Filipino applicants queuing up at the consulate for affidavits and e-passports.

Valeriano said the outreach program will serve the Filipino Community in Ras Al Khaimah in the morning and in Fujairah in the afternoon.

Applicants for notarized affidavits and e-passport had gone up to an average of 300 and 200 daily, he noted.

“Many of the staff have had a hectic schedule with long hours of work to be able to release the notarized affidavit within five days," he said.

Valeriano said he has only 15 consular staff and they are “saddled with too much work considering that there has been no additional staff since the implementation of the new travel requirement in Manila last month."

He said the 15 includes those assigned to assist Filipinos who have police, immigration and labor cases in the UAE.

On the other hand, Valeriano extended the number of days for releasing the notarized affidavit from five to 10 days because work on that has affected the issuance of the e-passport and other documents.

“It appears that more time has been used up in affidavit issuance as against our regular task of e-passport issuance and the authentication of special power of attorney and other documents, which are equally important," he said.

He called upon Filipino expatriates in RAK and Fujairah to be present during the Consular outreach program.

Services to be rendered during the program are e-passporting, receiving of applications for the notarization of affidavits, special power of attorney and other documents that require consular processing.

The team will include staff from the Consular Office, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Social Security System (SSS) and Pag-IBIG Fund.—JV, GMANews.TV

RP mission in UAE to hold outreach program

Philippine diplomatic and labor officials will hold an outreach program in two areas in the United Arab Emirates this weekend to cut down the large number of applicants for travel documents.

An 18-member team from the Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Dubai will hold the program in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah on Saturday.

“The outreach program will help reduce this number as applicants from RAK and Fujairah will not have to queue up at the Consulate," Consul General Benito Valeriano said in an article posted on UAE news site Khaleej Times Friday.

He said the mission will cater to Filipino applicants queuing up at the consulate for affidavits and e-passports.

Valeriano said the outreach program will serve the Filipino Community in Ras Al Khaimah in the morning and in Fujairah in the afternoon.

Applicants for notarized affidavits and e-passport had gone up to an average of 300 and 200 daily, he noted.

“Many of the staff have had a hectic schedule with long hours of work to be able to release the notarized affidavit within five days," he said.

Valeriano said he has only 15 consular staff and they are “saddled with too much work considering that there has been no additional staff since the implementation of the new travel requirement in Manila last month."

He said the 15 includes those assigned to assist Filipinos who have police, immigration and labor cases in the UAE.

On the other hand, Valeriano extended the number of days for releasing the notarized affidavit from five to 10 days because work on that has affected the issuance of the e-passport and other documents.

“It appears that more time has been used up in affidavit issuance as against our regular task of e-passport issuance and the authentication of special power of attorney and other documents, which are equally important," he said.

He called upon Filipino expatriates in RAK and Fujairah to be present during the Consular outreach program.

Services to be rendered during the program are e-passporting, receiving of applications for the notarization of affidavits, special power of attorney and other documents that require consular processing.

The team will include staff from the Consular Office, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Social Security System (SSS) and Pag-IBIG Fund.—JV, GMANews.TV

Pinay faces UAE court for 'forcing' compatriots into prostitution

A Filipina hairdresser faced a court in Dubai last Thursday for allegedly forcing two women into prostitution after luring them to the United Arab Emirates.

The 33-year-old Filipina was accused of human trafficking before the Court of First Instance, news site Khaleej Times reported Friday.

One of the victims, a 25-year-old Filipina, told prosecutors the woman offered her a job as a saleslady in a supermarket in Dubai and demanded Dh6,000 (P71,132) as visa fee, flight ticket charge and housing cost.

When the complainant could not pay the amount, the defendant allegedly agreed to shoulder the cost but on the condition that the complainant would pay it back.

Last April 23, the defendant and a Filipino man met the complainant at the Dubai International Airport and took her to the defendant’s apartment in Muraqqabat.

“There, she told me that I should pay her Dh20,000 (P237,108) as flight ticket charge, visa fee and rent for staying with her," the complainant said.

When she told the defendant that she did not have any money, the defendant told her that she had to work as a prostitute to repay the money.

The complainant refused and asked her to send her back to the Philippines.

“She forcibly took my passport and said she would not return it unless I paid her Dh20,000," the complainant claimed.

The defendant allegedly told her that there was no use in calling the police because she had many friends in the Criminal Investigation Department.

In the apartment, the complainant saw a follow Filipino woman who told her that the defendant had done the same to her.

The defendant used to call the customers, then drop the two women at an apartment or hotel and wait for the “clients."

None of the two victims could run away as the defendant would not leave them alone and she would always lock them up. The complainant worked in the flesh trade for two weeks while the other woman about one month.

On May 7, they were at an apartment of an Egyptian customer in Al Nahda in Sharjah. When he fell asleep, they escaped and took a cab to her aunt’s place in Sharjah after calling her.

The complainant could not call her aunt earlier because that was the first time the defendant gave her a mobile phone.

The two victims and the aunt went to the Police Department where they lodged a complaint against the defendant on May 9. The defendant was arrested the same day.

Her house was searched and different currencies were found. She first denied forcing the two women into prostitution or seizing their passports. She alleged the two requested to stay with her until they found a job. — LBG, GMANews.TV

Report: 1 of 2 escaped OFWs returning from Jordan Sunday

One of two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who escaped from their employers in Jordan is due to return home this Sunday.

Melith Ante, 27, is due to arrive with other OFWs on Sunday, her mother Berlita said in an article on news site Visayan Daily Star Friday.

But Melith's sister Lenen, 25, is reportedly still en route to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Amman, Jordan, Mrs. Ante said.

She said Lenen was rescued on Oct. 4 and was admitted to a hospital for a checkup.

The elder Ante called anew for justice and settlement for the moral and financial damages her daughters incurred during their ordeal.

Melith escaped from her employer after an attempted rape, and sought help at the Mactav Recruiting Manpower Domestic Worker.

She stayed there for two days without food and was taken into custody by the Philippine Embassy.

Mrs. Ante said her daughters were recruited for janitorial jobs by a friend who worked in a city government.

Berlita said she was asked to pay P11,000 but received no receipt last July.

She said she was surprised when her daughters called her the day after they arrived in Aqaba, Jordan, telling her that they were forced to work as domestic helpers.

After two months, they still received no salaries and their cellular phones were confiscated by their employers, she added.

Mrs. Ante also warned applicants for work abroad to avoid a recruitment agency with offices along Genral Malvar Street, Malate, Metro Manila.

She said the agency is not registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

“This is why we are calling concerned government agencies to take immediate action to prevent more victims and further damage to take place," said Larry Occe├▒a, Migrante-Negros chairman. — LBG, GMANews.TV

'Preaching OFWs' arrested in Saudi denounce RP embassy

Two of the 12 overseas Filipino workers arrested for taking part in a religious activity in Saudi Arabia criticized the Philippine embassy for refusing to sign the "kafala" or written guarantee for their release.

One of the OFWs, an engineer, said the embassy promised to sign the written guarantee for them but never did.

"We had to depend on our respective employers for our release. By 3 a.m. on Saturday, the police gave us back our iqamas," the OFW, who is also a local community leader, said in an article posted on Arab News Friday.

“There were assurances that the Philippine Embassy would sign a kafala for us, but it never came," he added.

Another OFW said that while they are thankful for the embassy's show of concern, they were "helpless" as far as the kafala was concerned.

“We are thankful to the two officials because they showed concern for us, except that they were helpless as far as the issuance of a kafala was concerned," said the second OFW, an administrative officer at a local company.

The Arab News report cited sources who said the Philippine embassy may have been reluctant to issue the kafala due to a previous bad experience.

“Some time back, members of a group were arrested by the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice for holding a meeting in Badiah. A kafala was signed for them by the embassy but when they were needed by the authorities, they did not show up," Arab News quoted the source as saying.

Saudi authorities arrested the 12 OFWs for taking part in a Christian activity last weekend.

Conducting religious activities of faiths other than Islam is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia.

Members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice detained the OFWs then turned them over to the police station in Rawdah district.

The engineer said they were released on Saturday.

“The embassy's refusal to sign a kafala for us is not a good sign for OFWs. It means that we cannot depend on our embassy for total help and protection if needed," he said.

Consul General Ezzedin Tago is the current charge d'affaires of the embassy. Ambassador Antonio Villamor ended his stint in the Kingdom on September 30.

Tago earlier said two embassy officials had gone to the police station to assist the 12 OFWs. –VVP, GMANews.TV
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