41 OFWs victimized by contract substitution in Saudi

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2012 07:07 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2012 03:07 AM

SAUDI ARABIA – Forty-one Filipinos working as cleaners in the Kingdom did not expect to be victims of contract substitution.

The workers claimed that their salary was reduced but the years that they have to work for the company have been stretched to three instead of two.

“Ang pinirmahan namin sa Pilipinas ay $350. Pagdating namin dito ay 600 Riyals na lang,” said one of the cleaners, Morad Kuwalo Ibad.

The native of Cotabato and a father of three said the salary he is getting now is not enough for his family in the Philippines.

“Ang kontrata po namin ay 2 years, naging 3 years contract,” said another worker, Christopher Vergara.

Most of them had to sell their farm animals or pawn their land just so they could work abroad.

“Naibenta ko na yung kalabaw ko dahil sa pag abroad at isinanla ko pati lupa naming,” said Leo Safe.

The workers also complained about the high fees, ranging from P14,000 to P30,000, that the agency charged them.

The OFWs want to go home and lodge a complaint against their employer and agency in the Philippines.

“Nananawagan po kami sa POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) at OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) na tulungan ninyo po kami makauwi sa Pinas,” said Robby Fernandez.

Migrante helped bring the workers’ plight to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), who in turn promised to endorse the case to the POEA. Report from Florante Catanus, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau