OFW-SOS Summary and Statistics
OFW Joseph Henry Espiritu kindly forwarded to me a seven month summary of the performance statistics of the SMS SOS which he helped develop together with Vic Barrazona and Manila-based NGO worker Bobby Soriano (see an earlier post). The report, Joseph said, was compiled by the V-Team-Juan, a welfare-based Filipino community organization in the kingdom. The report was for the first seven months since the SMS SOS came into being in February 2006.
The system logged a total of 1,385 messages, 985 of which came from Saudi Arabia, 255 came from relatives of OFWs in the Philippines, and a smattering came from countries such as Kuwait, South Africa, Israel, Hong Kong, Sweden, USA, Bahrain, Indonesia, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Maldives, Qatar, Taiwan and Malaysia.
The report said SMS from Saudi Arabia has been consistent for the past seven months with 45 average senders per month and 110 average sms per month.
The report concluded that the pre-departure orientation seminary (PDOS) for OFWs bound for the kingdom should not be merged with "the seminar for other countries."
"A one week special PDOS for KSA OFWs might be enough and this will surely lessen the number of distressed kababayans in KSA."
Furthermore, the proponents said "every OFW going to KSA must have a copy of the Saudi Labor Law (Tagalog) and must also thoroughly briefed to follow the laws of Saudi Arabia. We believe that the OFW's lack of knowledge of the Saudi Laws and the Saudi Labor Laws is the main reason why we have so many distressed kababayans in Saudi Arabia."
It is also too bad that until now, not enough OFWs seem to be making use of the SMS SOS which was developed by and for OFWs. Perhaps if the number was publicized more among OFWs, and not just among those in Saudi Arabia where most of the proponents come from.
The government really should capitalize on this system instead of creating other redundant text-based systems.