DOLE names 2 veteran officers to man Saudi posts
MANILA – Two veteran officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have been designated to head the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said Labor Attache Rustico M. De La Fuente will man the POLO-Riyadh and simultaneously coordinate all POLO operations in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Region.
Labor Attach Jainal T. Rasul Jr., on the other hand, has been designated as labor attaché in Jeddah.
Baldoz's action follows her issuance of DOLE Administrative Order No. 262 and A.O. 262-A, imposing stringent measures that would forestall, pre-empt, and permanently root out the alleged malpractices and misdemeanor against overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), such as the "sex-for-flight" scandal.
De la Fuente, who is the director of the DOLE's National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) from 16 September 2012 until his designation, will replace Labor Attache Adam Musa, who finished his tour of duty on Thursday.
De la Fuente rose from the ranks to become a veteran point person in the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in the past 32 years since 1981.
During the Lebanon crisis in 2007, De la Fuente was instrumental for the safe and successful rescue and evacuation of more than 6,000 OFWs back to the Philippines, in coordination with Lebanese authorities, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the International Organization for Migration.
Following the success of the crisis response in Lebanon, De la Fuente was detailed two weeks later, to Tenghiz, Kazakhstan where he coordinated repatriation of some 400 distressed OFWs affected by a riot that disrupted their workplaces.
As labor attaché, he had been posted in Doha, where he worked for the conclusion of the first bilateral labor agreement between the Philippines and Qatar, also the first between the country and a Middle Eastern OFW.
In charge in the late 1990s of the OWWA's overseas operations, he also coordinated the establishment of the first Filipino Workers Resource Center, now known as the Bahay Kalinga, mandated under Republic Act 8042, or the Migrant and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.
De la Fuente indicated that once in the POLO-Riyadh, he will immediately implement the reform measures prescribed by Baldoz under A.O.'s 262 and 262-A, with particular emphasis on a gender-balanced treatment to ensure protection of disadvantaged female OFWs. He said he will also closely coordinate his actions with transparency and accountability with other POLOs and OFW communities to better improve the delivery of POLO services and assist distressed workers.
Rasul, on the other hand, will take over the POLO in Jeddah, vice Labor Attache Atty. Alex Padaen who is being sent to Riyadh to join De la Fuente.
Rasul also rose from the ranks in government service, and is highly respected for his handling of POLO operations.
Prior to his designation to Jeddah, Rasul was posted to the POLO in London, the United Kingdom, where he served from 2005 to 2011.
As an assistant labor attaché in 1996, he was posted to Tripoli, Libya and served there until 1999; and to Riyadh from 1999 to 2011. A graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law, Rasul first joined the government service as technical/research staff of the 1986 Philippine Constitutional Commission.
Subsequently, at the Senate of the Philippines, he served as Director I of the Legislative Research Division from 1988 to 1993, and then as Director III of the Legislative Technical Affairs Bureau from 1993 to 1996, prior to joining the DOLE's overseas labor attaché corps.