29 February 2012
3 Syria OFWs plead for assistance via SMS; claimed they were ‘forwarded’ to jail by PH embassy officials
Out of their desperation seeking assistance from the concerned Philippine authorities in strife-torn Syria, three trapped overseas Filipino domestic workers were able to sent short message (SMS) pleading for assistance to an official of a Filipino migrants rights group.
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said on February 21, 2012 at 4:15 p.m., he received a text message from a certain Rowena Ramos asking him to follow her case, along other two companions, with the PH embassy in Syria. (See attached).
“Gud pm! Sir, Rowena ramos po i2 fr.syria. sir pki-follow up nmn po case q s embsy.ngtgl po q don tas forward d2 s kulungn.2lungn u kmi sir.rowena,nelvic & romela (Good afternoon! Sir, this is Rowena Ramos from Syria. Sir, please help us follow our case with the PH embassy. I stayed long there but was forwarded in jail. Please help us Sir –Rowena, Nelvic, and Romela),” the complete SMS sent by the OFWs to M-ME’s Monterona.
Monterona, who is based in Saudi Arabia, said after reading the above SMS from OFW Rowena, he immediately called back on the mobile number (+693993733264) Rowena used, but he ‘could not get connected’.
“I did call her mobile number several times but an auto-answering voice on the other line says ‘phone is currently switch off or out of coverage area’. Since Feb.21, every day, I repeatedly called the mobile number but to no avail,” Monterona added.
Monterona said he would like to talk with OFW Rowena to get additional information from her such as which prison they were brought and why the PH embassy ‘forwarded’ them to jail.
“I could not understand why the distressed and trapped OFWs who were already under the custody of the PH embassy for a month or more were forwarded or were endorsed by the embassy to jail?” Monterona asked.
Monterona added: “Providing there was a pending case of absconding filed by their respective employers, the PH embassy should take prudence in sending the distressed OFWs in Syria jail who are in fact already under their custody considering the present peace and order situation in Syria.”
Monterona calls on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to ask an explanation to the PH embassy officials in Syria why they have sent the distressed and trapped OFWs in (Rowena Ramos and two other companions known only as ‘Nelvic’ and ‘Rowena’) in jail.
“We want this investigated. We want to know which jail the 3 OFWs are presently incarcerated. What is their condition?” Monterona lamented.
Monterona added that he already received information, prior to OFW Rowena’s text message, there were a number of ran away OFWs sent to jail by PH embassy in Syria though the OFWs are under the custody of the embassy for months.
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No. 00966 564978012