From: Joseph Henry B. Espiritu
Subject: An OFW's personal favor (Must Read)
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Saturday, August 15, 2009, 11:32 AM
I am not asking this favor for myself, I am sure that all OFWs may benefit from this if
this request will be granted.
The Favor -
The Rights of local-hired employees working in Philippine Overseas Labor Office
(POLO) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia .
Most of these local-hired employees have been working in POLO for more than ten
years now. Thus, we cannot deny the fact that these workers are more experienced
and more knowledgeable in their jobs compared to the neophytes sent by
Most OFWs consider the local-hired employees as government employees but the
OFWs have no idea that these workers are not receiving the same privileges and
benefits as what the workers from Philippines are getting.
If our government cannot treat local-hired workers as one of their own, then the
government must treat them as OFWs working in KSA; and that the following
worker's rights from Saudi Labor Law should be imposed.
1. Right for Health and Risk Insurance - What will happen to them if they will get
sick? Will the Philippine Government shoulder the cost for hospitalization? In Saudi
Arabia , the minimum amount that a migrant can avail for medication is 100,000SR per
year. (Ref: Cooperative Health Insurance Law and Saudi Labor Law)
What if these employees were involved in an accident during work; Will the Philippine
Government give the disability benefits to their families? In Saudi Arabia , if a worker
suffers a work-related injury or death, a worker or his family may get a disability benefit
equivalent to 7 year salary. (Ref: Social Insurance Law and Saudi Labor Law)
2. End of Service Benefits - the computation for ESB that migrant worker may get
is 0.5 month salary each year for the first 5 years and 1 month salary per year from 6th
I think the calculations are not much for the Philippine government to give.
The local-hired employees of POLO are fighting for the rights of OFWs with regards to
ESB and other benefits. The irony is that they themselves do not have these benefits.
3 Overtime - If we will follow the provision of the Saudi Labor Law with regards to
computation of overtime payment, it is possible that the Philippine government will run
out of budget because the locally hired workers are working almost 24/7.
Those were just three basic rights of migrant workers as per Saudi Laws. I believe that
the local hired workers in POLO should be given the same rights.
When Mr. Moner had a serious illness, he was not given a proper medical treatment
because they didn’t have enough money. They didn’t have any medical insurance. What
the POLO did was to register him as OWWA member. At least the little amount from
OWWA did help, but couldn't save Mr. Moner's life.
Mrs. Moner left the KSA and went home to Mindanao empty-handed. She did not get
any benefit from the Philippine Government. She did not get a retirement benefit her
husband's 15 years of service in POLO-Riyadh.
A number of POLO Officers had an accident last year in Hafar al Batin to serve the
community in that region. One welfare officer died and his family had received some
benefits for his loss. What if it was the driver who died or totally disabled? Will his
family get the same benefit? Will the Philippine Government give his family the amount
equivalent to 7 year salary (as per social insurance of KSA)?
These local-hired employees of POLO are not my friends, but their efforts and
dedication are evident in the following tasks:
1. Processing the travel papers of OFWs in deportation and in SSWA
2. Rescuing distress OFWs anytime of the day.
3. Fighting for OFW rights in the Saudi Labor Office or within the employer's premises.
These are clear proofs that these local-hired workers are willing to risk their lives in
fighting for the OFWs rights and welfare. They offer their lives for the OFWs. The
Phiippine government should know that.
"Ang sa akin lang is pahahalagahan din natin ang kanilang buhay at buhay ng kanilang
pamilya dahil buhay din ang inalay nila."
I had heard some unvalidated stories from other OFWs that few locally hired workers
are extorting money from them, or that they sided with the employer instead of fighting
for the OFWs rights. I am not sure if these accusations are valid but if they are indeed
true.... hindi kaya dahil gipit yong isa or dalawa sa kanila? Even if it’s true, we cannot
deny that these locally hired workers are deprived of the many rights that we migrant
workers are getting.
There might be few who are doing wrong things but I am sure that many of them are
religiously dedicated to public service more than those officers sent from Manila .
I understand that our government can't give the same rights and benefits to them, if we
follow the computations from the provisions of the Saudi Laws. The Philippine
government should also understand that these rights should be given to local-hired
workers. It does not matter if the computation is the same as long as there is.
May mga nagsasabi na magpasalamat nga ang mga local-hired dahil nabigyan sila ng
trabaho. Hindi po totoo yan dahil alam ko ang capacity nila, may mga sharia lawyer pa
nga dyan at may mga translators na kung piliin nilang magwork sa mga law firms ay
malaki pa ang kanilang kikitain. May mga pwede magturo sa schools. May mga pwede
magwork sa mga governtment agencies ng KSA. Yong mga driver dyan na local-hired,
malaki pa ang kikitain nila kung nag-drive na lang sila ng taxi or school bus. Pero pinili
nilang magtrabaho dyan sa POLO. Para magsilbi sa aming mga OFWs.
May mga tumanda na dyan, pero patuloy pa rin ang sobrang dedication sa pagasikaso
sa OFWs. Wala ng chance na makalipat pa ng company. Siguro umaasa sila na
someday makita ng gobyerno yong ginagawa nila at masuklian ng mabuti.. Ramdam ko
na yan ang mga pangarap nila. Sana mabigyang katuparan ang pangarap na ito.
Kayo na nasa gobyerno someday makapagretire na rin at matikman ang katas ng iyong
paghihirap at paninilbihan sa bayan. Pero may mga tao po dito na katulad nyo na buhay
ang inaalay para sa pagtulong sa aming OFWs. Tulungan nyo naman sila at ang
seguridad ng kanilang pamilya.
Hintayin pa ba natin na isa-isa silang makarealize na inabuso sila? Kung mawala
sila dyan, sino naman ang tutulong pa sa mga OFWs? Yong mga baguhan na galing
Pilipinas na pagdating dito ay mag-aaral pa lang sa sistema ng Saudi Arabia?
Lubos na gumagalang,
Gimboy "TAS" Espiritu