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    Appeal for urgent action against Philippine officials in Saudi Arabia

    Recall, investigate and prosecute Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago, Labor Attache Adam Musa and Welfare Officer Abdullah Umpa for Ordering and Collaborating with the Saudi Police in the Conduct of the Violent Dispersal of Stranded Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    On June 30, 2013, Saudi police descended upon the compound of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and violently dispersed the stranded OFWs who were camping out in the compound. The violent dispersals started on June 30 and lasted until July 4, 2013.

    Scores of OFWs were injured and the children were traumatized. The Saudi police also unjustifiably arrested 40 OFWs.  According to the OFWs, the violent dispersals were ordered by no less than the Philippine Ambassador EzzedinTago, LaborAttache Adam Musa and Welfare Officer Abdullah Umpa.

    The stranded OFWs put up the campout sites and tent cities in Jeddah and Riyadhon April and May, respectively, to demand free and urgent and mass repatriation as they had been subjected to a door-to-door crackdowns conducted by the Saudi government to flush out undocumented aliens working in Saudi Arabia. But instead of helping the stranded OFWs and facilitating their repatriation, the actions of Ambassador Tago, Musa, Umpa amounted to turning their backs on the distressed OFWs and collaborating with the Saudi police in implementing the brutal dispersal of OFWs camping out of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh on July 4.

    Such acts are an unconscionable violation of the human rights of OFWs and deserve to be condemned in the strongest terms possible even as they constitute a perfidy of their public duties. The three aforementioned officials have also been the subject of pending complaints of government neglect, negligence of duty, corruption and conducts unbecoming of public officials from OFWs in Saudi Arabia. The pending complaints, however, remain unresolved and un-addressed by the Philippine government through their respective concerned agencies, namely, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), despite overwhelming testimonies and statements from distressed OFWs.

    It is in this light that we condemn in the strongest possible terms the June 30 to July 4 violent dispersals of stranded OFWs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We strongly urge the DFA, DOLE, OWWA and the Aquino administration to immediately recall, investigate and prosecute Tago, Musa and Umpa.

    We strongly believe that the three aforementioned could not have wilfully and blatantly disregarded their duties and responsibilities without direct orders from their superiors. Failure to urgently act on this appeal is therefore tantamount to the Aquino administration’s condonement of such acts for purposes of political expediency at the expense of our OFWs’ rights and welfare.

    RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:

    Send letters, emails or fax messages calling on:

    • The Philippine government to urgently recall Tago,  Musa and Umpa;
    • The Philippine government to conduct an open and independent investigation on the grave misconduct of Tago, Musa and Umpa with regard the facilitation of free, urgent and mass repatriation and the promotion and protection of OFW’s rights and welfare in Saudi Arabia;
    • The Philippine government to institute the rightful case and charges against Tago, Musa and Umpa for their gross negligence and abandonment of the distressed OFWs in Saudi Arabia.
    • The Philippine government to institute the rightful case and charges against higher officials and superiors who, after further investigation, will have been found to have ordered, condoned or tolerated the actions of the abovementioned officials.

    You may send your communication to:

    H.E. Benigno Aquino III
    President, Republic of the Philippines
    Malacanang Palace
    Office: JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila, Philippines
    Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
    Fax: (+632) 742 1641/ 929 3968
    Email: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

    Hon. Alberto del Rosario
    Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs
    Office: 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Philippines
    Phone: (+632) 834 7374
    Fax: (+632) 832 1597
    Email: osec@dfa.gov.ph

    Hon. Jesus Yabes
    Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA-DFA)
    Office: 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Philippines
    Phone: (+632) 832 1672
    Fax: (+632) 551 0847
    Email: oumwa@dfa.gov.ph

    Hon. Rosalinda Baldoz
    Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment
    Office: 2/F DOLE Executive Building
    San Jose St., Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
    TeleFax: (+632) 527 2116 / 527 2118
    Email: secrdb@dole.gov.ph

    Hon. Carmelita Dimzon
    Administrator, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
    Office: Room 401, 7th St., corner F.B, Harrison, Pasay City, Philippines
    Phone: (+632) 891 7601, local 5401
    Fax: (+632) 834 0124 / 834 0148
    Email: admin.csd@owwa.gov.ph

    Hon. Leila de Lima
    Secretary, Department of Justice
    Office: Padre Faura St., Manila, Philippines
    Direct Line: (+632) 521 8344 / 521 3721
    Fax: (+632) 521 1614
    Email: soj@doj.gov.ph

    Hon. Loretta Ann Rosales
    Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
    SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
    Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
    Phone: (+632) 928 5655 / 926 6188
    Fax: (+632) 929 0102
    Email: chair.rosales@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

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