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Phl labor officials under fire for calling for deportation of Duterte’s OFW critic

27 April 2020

By The SUN

Dole wants Taiwan to deport the OFW for alleged cybercrime

Migrant workers groups have blasted Philippine labour officials for calling for the deportation from Taiwan of a Filipina caregiver who had criticized President Rodrigo Duterte online.

In several video posts that went viral, Elanel Egot Ordidor, a caregiver in Yunlin County, had asked the President if he never considered that the lockdown of Luzon and other regions would starve Filipinos to death ahead of the coronavirus killing them.

But her statement was mainly aimed at Duterte’s supporters, who she said shouldn’t be blinded by their loyalty to the President since their own relatives are suffering due to the lockdown.
“Isipin nyo naman ang kapakanan ng mga anak nyo, ng mga pamilya nyo, hindi lang ang inyong mga sarili. Huwag nyo lang isipin ang utos ng Pangulo…Sigurado ako na 80% ng mga kamag-anak nyo ay umaangal na rin sa hirap na dinaranas nila ngayon,” she said.

The videos prompted the Philippine labor attaché in Taichung, Fidel Macauyag, to issue a statement on Apr 25 that he was seeking an unnamed OFW’s deportation for allegedly trying to “discredit and malign” and “destabilize the government.”

The Department of Labor and Employment subsequently named the unidentified OFW as Ordidor.
“We are constrained to act for the deportation of [Ordidor] … for the crime of cyber libel for [her] willful posting of nasty and malevolent materials against President Duterte on Facebook, intended to cause hatred amidst the global health crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Macauyag.

His move prompted an immediate rebuke from several migrant organizations, including Migrante International, which called out Dole and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Taichung for “harassing” Ordidor who had merely stated an opinion.

“There are thousands upon thousands of distressed, abused, stranded and neglected OFWs needing to be rescued and assisted, but these overseas Polo officials opted instead to expend all their time…to gang up on Ordidor [for] her critical views on Duterte,” Migrante said.

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“This is definitely meant to divert people’s attention from the Duterte regime’s inutility in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and recession in the Philippines.” 

United Filipinos in Hong Kong echoed the criticism, telling Dole and Polo “to stop wasting time and public resources just to harass and terrorize an OFW for criticizing the government.”
 
Balladares says it is not Polo's job to harass and intimidate an OFW

Dolores Balladares, Unifil-Migrante chairperson, asked: “Since when did harassment and intimidation of our OFWs become part of the Labor Attaché’s job description? Have they now transformed into attack dogs of the Duterte administration against critics overseas?”

Balladares said OFWs and their families, especially during the Covid crisis, “need timely and sufficient financial assistance plus moral and material support from the government.”

Separately, a Philippine lawyer said on Facebook that the call for Ordidor’s deportation was “wrong on many levels.”

Wilfredo Garrido said that first, it is not the job of Dole to intervene with foreign governments on immigration matters.

Second, there should first be a determination of whether a crime had been committed before Manila could ask Taipei to deport a Philippine national, otherwise a dangerous precedent would be set.

Garrido cited other legal reasons before saying that Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III was in a conflict of interest situation because his principal function was to protect Filipino workers, “even though they are guilty of the worst offences, including murder and drug trafficking.”

In his statement, Macauyag said representatives from Polo in Taichung met with Ordidor on Apr 20 “to enlighten her that her actions amounted to a crime for which she might be prosecuted both in Taiwan and the Philippines.”

Ordidor reportedly promised to delete her videos and promised to post another one to publicly apologize to Duterte at 9pm on Apr 20 but this never happened.

Instead of an apology, Macauyag said, several “fake accounts” posted messages of sympathy and support for the worker on the Polo Taichung Facebook page.


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