“We are not abused” say Filipino workers in the FSM


By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
September 27, 2018 FSM— In a show of solidarity, Filipino workers across the FSM gathered together in each of the FSM states during the last two weeks to send the message to President Dutertre that they are not being abused in the FSM.
They asked their President to reinvestigate the total ban on processing and deployment of workers to the FSM.
Manila heard the message and today, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced that the Philippines government has entirely lifted the ban against overseas foreign workers in the FSM
A news article in yesterday’s “Manila Bulletin”, written by Leslie Ann Aquino indicated that the message sent by Filipinos working in the FSM was received in Manila. That article said that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III would be meeting with Bernard Olalia, the head of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to see if there was any basis to lift the ban.
The article said that Bello had received many messages from workers in Micronesia saying that they were being treated well by their employers. The ban, issued earlier this month seemed to be based solely on the
recommendation of Marciano De Borja Philippines Consul in Guam. His recommendation seemed to be based, at least partially, on allegations of maltreatment and abuses from either one public health worker in Chuuk in 2017, or systemic mistreatment of Filipino doctors and nurses at Chuuk State Hospital. Those allegations led the powerful Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to “blacklist” the Chuuk State Hospital.

The ban said that because that situation had not been resolved, no Philippine citizen could apply for new employment in the FSM and those who return to the Philippines, would not be allowed to return, whether or not their contracts had been completed.
In Pohnpei, two Filipino children held signs telling POEA that they missed their mommy, an overseas worker who was not allowed to return to Pohnpei after she needed to return to the Philippines.
Several Filipinos who had returned to the Philippines were not permitted to return because of the ban. After today’s announcement, the FSM can expect some happy reunion moments at the airports across the FSM.
“We will definitely order the lifting if it is only one ( p r o b l e m a t i c employer)”, Bello told the Manila Bulletin yesterday.
Apparently, that is what they found, and as a result, Bello announced the lifting of the ban late this afternoon, Pohnpei time.
“I am very thankful to my co-officers,” said Viner Macarubbo, President of the United Filipino Community of Pohnpei, “because all of us were supporting each other and listening to each other’s ideas.”
“I’d also like to thank our fellow Filipino workers who are still in the Philippines and spent their time for face-to-face interviews with a local reporter,” he said. He mentioned that one of those workers went to Manila for an interview with that reporter though she lives in one of the provinces that is six to seven hours away by land travel.
Macarubbo also thanked FSM President Peter Christian and Pohnpei State Governor Marcelo Peterson for their rapid response to the situation.
As is often the case with most large groups of people, not all of the Filipinos in Chuuk, Kosrae, Yap, or Pohnpei could be there for the group photos.
Many were working at the time. But their message was heard loud and clear in Manila just the same.

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