THE Dubai chapter of an organisation, composed of former Philippine National Police (PNP) officers as well as other Filipino civic-minded volunteers, is currently pursuing two illegal recruitment cases, following the return of the victims to Metro Manila early this year.
Sangguniang Masang Pilipino International Inc. (SMPII-Council of the Filipino Masses International Inc.)-Dubai administrator Ibrahim Robel Beltran told The Gulf Today on Saturday evening: “Determination of the victims in filing cases counts a lot.”
PNP Consultant and SMPII Founder-Chief Executive Officer Elpidio Tanaliga Jr. is personally tracking down the progress of the two cases, said Beltran, formerly with the PNP Training School in Lucena City, Quezon Province and among three other former law enforcers-turned-overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Saudi Arabia.
The first case involves a 17-year-old Filipina-Muslim from Mindanao, illegally recruited (underage) to become a housemaid.
The second is about a 28-year-old Filipina. More than being a victim of contract substitution (from beautician to servant), she entered the UAE with a visit visa and was asked by the manpower agency in Metro Manila to undergo the pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS) which is only required from departing OFWs.
SMPII-Dubai Director General Roy Silvano said these two cases are not any different from the usual labour problems Filipinos in the UAE are faced with, no matter how Manila and the media have been doing their best in setting up measures as well as on informing the public on the sob stories of OFWs.
“There are many who do not even know what Polo (Philippine Overseas Labour Office) is,” the Philippine College of Criminology undergraduate said.
He agreed and expressed support to what recent visitor Vice President Jejomar Binay stressed before the Filipino community in the UAE two weeks ago - that illegal recruitment will always be one of the roots of social problems if the public remain to be willing victims and are unmindful to solving it, through the filing of lawsuits against the perpetrators.
So far, SMPII-Dubai, which also has former Western Police District (Manila)-Women’s Desk officer Donna Gonzales as member is following up on 15 other cases.
Aside from illegal recruitment and human smuggling, the other cases are about illegal drugs, prostitution and money matters.
Its deputy director general Ramoncito Flores explained that the group is part of a Filipino international organisation spread out in Hong Kong (recognised by the Hong Kong Police), Saudi Arabia, Angola, United States, Italy, Oman, Bahrain, Taiwan, and South Korea.
It is under the PNP-Police Community Relations Group Support Group (PNP-PCRGSG) headquartered in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Metro Manila.
“We are not makapilis (term referred to masked Filipinos who pinpointed their countrymen, oftentimes on fabricated or trump up charges to the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II),” said Silvano.
“But, it is in our mandate to protect our countrymen from social problems,” he added.
“We found out that majority of our problems here are a result of us not knowing the UAE laws and culture,” said Beltran, adding that one of their seminars for possible members is on these.
Beltran explained that as part of the PNP-PCRGSG, they are a “force multiplier” which must coordinate with local and international government agencies operating in the host country and expected to provide assistance to the authorities, particularly the police.
The hotline of SMPII-Dubai, recognised as a legitimate Filipino organisation by the Philippine Consulate General since Jan. 5, 2011 as personally endorsed by Labour Attache Amilbahar Amilasan to Consul General Benito Valeriano, is +971551931971.
Valeriano said the group would be a big help in addressing the problems Filipinos encounter.
He added it must be vigilant in investigating cases and must present all pieces of evidence before the two Philippine diplomatic missions in the UAE as well as to other local authorities.