7 Pinoy Welders Beg for Food in Qatar After Being Denied 4 Months Salary

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While their countrymen dined on lavish Christmas meals, seven Filipino welders, who recently lost their jobs, begged for food at the Corniche and Fish Market here in order to have something to eat.

They are among the 23 foreign workers who were laid-off when the construction company they were working for closed shop about four months ago.

Instead of going home, they decided to stay and fight for their salaries equivalent to four months which the company failed to give them. Their case is being heard by a local labor court.

Willy Catian, a 39-year-old welder, said that in order to survive, they had to beg for money and even food from compatriots who pass by Corniche, an area which is like Baywalk on Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

“Whenever we can solicit at least 50 Qatari riyals (P650) or 100 Qatari riyals from our kabayan (countrymen) we run to the supermarket and buy rice,” Catian said.

He said aside from asking money from kind-hearted individuals, they also scavenge for shrimp heads at the Fish Market here before sellers throw them away.

No power

Catian said they would share the food they got from begging and scavenging in their cramped makeshift quarters in Wakra, where all seven of them live.

They do not have electricity but they are able to fetch water from a nearby mosque courtesy of compassionate worshipers.

Another welder, Joselito Mañalac, said it has been four months since they last sent money to their families back home.

The sad plight of the seven workers has caught the attention of Filipinos here.

Already, an online community of Filipino expatriates living in Qatar started a fund-raising drive for them.

In contrast, Catian said an official of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) here allegedly failed to help when they asked for an Arabic interpreter to assist them in their labor case.

The official, identified as Hector Cruz, allegedly told Catian: “I don’t care if you win the case or not, what is important is that I can work for your immediate deportation.”

Migrante International said Cruz’s attitude contradicted President Macapagal-Arroyo’s assurances that overseas Filipino workers can go to the POLO if they have problems. The president gave this statement during a dinner with Filipino community leaders at the Doha Sheraton hotel here.

“He (Cruz) is being paid with taxpayers’ hard-earned money and this is what he does in return? He should not be in that position,” said Jhon de Jesus, Migrante’s coordinator here.

Vivo Vidal, POLO chief here, said they would have to wait for the final decision of the labor court before they can extend assistance to the displaced Filipino workers.

“Once there is a decision in favor of the workers, that’s the time we can take action,” Vidal said.

Source: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/news/view/20081228-180282/7-Pinoy-...

Comments

What Can Expatriates Do if They Get Laid Off in the Middle East?

Hi,

First of all, I like to thank you for creating this very informative blog.

Can you please help me with some information? I like to know, if I was a foreigner or an expatriate in the Middle East, and I got laid off due to the economic downturn, what can I do about it? What are my rights? Who can I see to get help? What should I know further? Is there an organization, group or website that I can look at for more information?

Thanks,
Nick
nick.gooogle@gmail.com

what a bullshit liar Mr.

what a bullshit liar Mr. Anonymous is. Call the Humar right's authority! I had a cousin who was raped by a Bangladeshi and justice was served.

Sitting and moaning does nothing, get up off your ass and get some facts.

@Nick, if you get laid off, then there are two situations, either you get an NOC (no objections certificate) and work for another company, or you can leave Qatar if you wish. No employer has the right to detain you.

no bs

if youre cousin was raped by qatari, its a different story.

Expatriates

Hi Nick,

Good luck to you. There is no protection or anything for expat being laid off in Middle East. You have no rights. You went to Middle East for the salary and salary only. That should be your only expectation. Nothing else. If you want labour protection, US and Europe.

Even women who were raped got no rights, what makes you think a fatly paid expat got any?