Dialogue held for Pinoy offshore oil workers
MANILA - Officials of the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. had a dialogue with leaders who are supporting the fight of a group of Filipino offshore oil workers against their employer for alleged human trafficking and slavery.
“The embassy is satisfied with the outcome of the discussions,” said First Secretary and Consul Elmer Cato.
Cato, Welfare Officer Saul de Vries and Assistant Labor Officer Oliver Flores represented the embassy in their meeting with Justice for Grand Isle Shipyard Campaign's Dante Simbulan, Josef Cadgugay of the Katarungan Center for Peace, Justice and Human Rights in the Philippines and Katrina Abarcar and Ann Beryl Corotan of Philippine Forum and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.
“The embassy actually shares their concern for the rights and welfare of Filipino offshore oil workers here in the United States--not just those involved in the class suit against Grand Isle but also the majority who have not joined the case,” said Cato.
The dialogue was made after 10 protesters from New York, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey staged a picket outside the embassy along Massachusetts Avenue in support of the Filipino offshore oil workers involved in the case whom they insist were victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
The groups want the Philippine Government to probe the condition of the other group of Filipino workers who, according to them, were being treated like slaves and kept in prison-like conditions in the Grand Isle facility in Galiano, Louisiana.
They also want the Philippine Government to shut down the companies for alleged illegal, inhumane and negligent business practices and for Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. to step down for supposedly failing to take any action on the case.
“We hope the embassy was able to present a clear picture of what the Philippine Government has done and what it continues to do in protecting the rights and welfare of our workers,” said Cato.