KUWAIT CITY, June 23: The Advocates and Keepers Organization of OFWs Inc (AKO OFW Inc), a global non-governmental organization founded in Kuwait in November 2015 with a sterling and vast track record of helping search and rescue distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), joined hands with Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) in the launch of the “Bantay OFW” Mobile Application for distressed OFWs.
The “Bantay OFW Mobile App” as conceptualized by AKO OFW Inc founder and incumbent chairman Celerino “Dok Chie” L. Umandap, Vice-Chairman lawyer Marlon P. Valderama and President Marcia Vicenta Paz “Mars Gonz” Gonzales-Sadicon shall serve as avenue for convenient communications relative to the living and working conditions and or significant occurrences affecting OFWs.
It shall aid the government in monitoring the status and plight of OFWs and the consequential actions undertaken by the concerned Philippine Recruitment Agency (PRA), Foreign Recruitment Agency (FRA) and employer. It also shall underscore civil, friendly and receptive responses to all and users will at the same time maintaining privacy of communication; It shall as well maintain a status of utmost impartiality and shall interact only on what has been factually received and gathered; It shall at all times adhere to its role as conveyor of the status and conditions of OFWs as uploaded, received and gathered for concomitant actions of recipients; and it cannot be used as basis for administrative sanction against concerned OFWs, PRAs, FRAs and employers since it would otherwise discourage their open participation to this system.
“The mobile app is free and can be easily downloaded from the Google Play Store for android phone user and App Store for Iphone users. It is very easy to use. All they need to do is download the mobile app and sign up. With the digital age, this is the easiest way to monitor OFWs and get help across the fastest way in coordination of course with Kuwaiti authorities. This mobile app is not only for OFWs in Kuwait but all over the world,” explained Umandap to the Arab Times.
AKO OFW led by Gonzales- Sadicon and POEA Administrator Bernardo P. Olalia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that coincided with the culmination of the week-long celebration of this year’s 23rd annual observance of “Filipino Migrants’ Day” also known as “Araw ng Pasasalamat.” “This is to provide a convenient, affordable, accessible and swift means to monitor, check and safeguard Filipino workers right at the jobsite abroad especially the gender sensitive and most vulnerable sector, the Household Service Workers (HSW) without cost to the Philippine government,” outlined Umandap as he thanked the POEA and other government agencies for supporting the mobile app launch and the AKO OFW cause of helping OFWs worldwide.
The launch in Manila was attended by top government officials led by Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process Secretary Jesus G. Dureza and Undersecretary Astravel Pimentel Naic of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. AKO OFW, one of the active OFW advocacy groups in Kuwait has now 35,000 card bearing members with over 250,000 followers on Facebook and established chapters in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines in Davao City, Cebu City, Iloilo City, General Santos City, South Cotabato and Metro Manila.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff