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Athens, Greece – Around 18 persons from KASAMAKO together with MIGRANTE – EUROPE held a silent and peaceful picket outside the Philippine Embassy building while waiting for the time scheduled for the dialogue with Ambassador Frank Cimafranca concerning the following issues: 1. To negotiate for a Labor Bilateral Agreement between the Philippine Government and the Greek Government regarding the Social Security of OFWs here in Greece; 2. OWWA Omnibus Policy that effectively made the $25 OWWA contributions mandatory per contract (every two years) that revoked a lifetime memberships of Filipino migrants and families and eroded OWWA’s major welfare programs; 3. OEC/exit pass as an additional burden to OFWs. Alongside, the outreach services of the embassy to the far flung islands of Greece was also discussed.
A number of local police were in the area near the embassy when the mobilization arrived for the silent and peaceful picket, hours before the scheduled time for the dialogue. The presence of police in the area generated fear to the other supporters not to stay longer. However,, the situation gave more courage to the picketers to stay calm and have more patience to wait.
The picket lasted for more or less than four hours up to the time that the ambassador arrived. The ambassador allowed everybody to go inside the conference hall of the embassy, not only the panels as expected.
The dialogue lasted for more than three hours. The group is optimistic that our calls be granted by the Philippine government and the Greek government on the Labor Bilateral Agreement, as well as to the other issues raised during the dialogue.
We continue to push for the two governments to take actions on our demand for the bilateral agreement on Social Security and the Philippine Government for the other demands that was presented.
Hereof, we are calling for a wider support from the Filipino community in Greece to unite with us in fighting for our basic human rights. We call for the advancement of the Bilateral Agreement. We call for an immediate actions on these issues.