Support Agnes Tenorio and other neglected OFWs! Recall Labatt Romy Salud!
To the Secretary
Department of Labor and Employment
Government of the Republic of the Philippines
Hon. Jejomar Binay
Vice President, Government of the Republic of the Philippines
Presidential Adviser for OFW Concerns
Hon. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President, Government of the Republic of the Philippines
No OFW should be bullied and neglected by a Philippine government official! Support Agnes Tenorio and other neglected OFWs!Recall Labatt Romy Salud!
A first-time migrant worker, Agnes was illegally sacked by her employer after only two hours of working as a domestic worker. Distraught, she approached the Philippine Consulate General where she was referred to Labatt. Salud. Confused and not knowing what to do, she decided then to go home to the Philippines and asked for assistance. Salud, without explaining her rights and possible venues for redress, simply arranged for her air ticket.
Afterwards, she learned from others that she can actually file monetary claims at the HK Labor Department and also have the Philippine Consulate assist her to waive the loan to pay illegal fees to her recruitment agency in the Philippines.
On October 10, when she returned to the Philippine Consulate, Tenorio experienced verbal abuse from Salud at the latter’s office. Despite her insistence and reasoning to pursue her case and get a portion of her claims, Salud completely disregarded her and instead displayed abuse of authority and berated Tenorio.
Not only this, she was allowed to stay at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC), a Philippine government-run migrant shelter in Hong Kong, by Salud but only on the following conditions:
(1) that she will only stay in FWRC until October 28 and will not be eligible to extension;
(2) that Salud will not guarantee the waiving of the loans to pay the recruitment agency; and
(3) that she will purchase her own plane ticket back to Manila.
The case of Agnes Tenorio presents us with the reality of impunity by which Philippine government officials at home or abroad can neglect the plea of many distressed OFWs. This should not happen again. No OFW deserves to be treated, talked to and handled by any government official this way.
These are our demands:
1. For the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to immediately conduct a transparent and thorough investigation of this case. And that while the investigation is happening, Salud should be suspended from his post.
2. For the DOLE to immediately recall Romulo Salud as labor attaché and have him accountable for his conduct grossly unbecoming of a government official.
3. For the DOLE to provide assistance to Agnes Tenorio in recovering her money from the illegal collection made by the recruitment agency as well as waiving the loans used as payment for the said collection.
4. For the Philippine government to review the service delivery of its consulates and embassies as well as the operation of its welfare centers like the FWRC in Hong Kong. Policy reviews need to be made as well as investigation on reported anomalies regarding conciliation and illegal collection of placement fees in the form of bogus loans by recruitment agencies, among others.
5. For Congress to enact laws which will punish government officials who commit gross neglect/dereliction of duty to serve overseas Filipinos be they documented or undocumented.
OFWs like Agnes Tenorio are sacrificing every moment away from their families to give them a good life and a good future. Abroad they are vulnerable and need the utmost protection from the Philippine government. They deserve no less than the undivided attention, protection, support and care of Philippine government and consular officials at home and abroad.