VICTIMS OF OIL RIG BLAST SUE; SUPPORTERS CALL FOR CUSIA RESIGNATION

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

January 16, 2013

Filipino labor group members in New York are calling for the resignation of Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia, for alleged inaction on the labor conditions of oil rig workers in Louisiana.

“In 2010, the consulate and embassy had a meeting with the workers, but they did nothing to further investigate the conditions of the workers. They did not do anything to investigate the operations of Grand Isle Shipyard (GIS)…because on Nov 16, 2012, three workers died on the black Elk Platform,” said Julia Camagong, International Migrants Alliance. “We are demanding that Philippine
Ambassador Cuisia resign because (he) did not perform (his) responsibility to protect the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants in the U.S.”

The family of Avelino Tajonera, one of the Filipino overseas workers who were killed in the November platform blast claims the
Philippine government is not conducting enough investigations on the death of their loved one.

A class action lawsuit against GIS was filed by former employees, accusing GIS discrimination, trafficking, slavery, wage theft and fraud.

GIS is a supplier of overseas Filipino workers to oil companies in the gulf coast.

“Kung ang ating gobyerno ay tumutulong sa ating mga manggagawang katulad namin, na sinasabi nilang bayaning Pilipino ay hindi na po sana nangyari ganyang kapahamakan sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino,” said Ricardo Ramos, alleged victim.

In response to the allegations, the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC told Balitang America that Cuisia is aware of the problems of the workers from as early as 2010 when the embassy met with eight offshore Filipino workers.

Cuisia said that the embassy continues to provide guidance to the families and workers.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • kuya
    16 January 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    wala talagang kwenta yan Philippine government.

  • pinoy ako
    17 January 2013 at 2:49 am - Reply

    @kuya says: meron silang kwenta. kwentahan ng corruption money

  • JT
    21 January 2013 at 3:24 am - Reply

    Cusia job is to monitor and receive a copy of the investigation report from US gov’t .Washington Phil Embassy will coordinate with Manila foreign affair office in order to contact the family of the victim. GIS the job placement agency will also coordinate with Manila foreign affair office. Remember the Filipino workers voluntarily apply for that job thru GIS. In my own opinion all oil rig workers are heavily insured by the employer. When the lawyer start filling law suit to the employers, Phil gov’t, GIS etc. the filling fee alone mean a lot of legal fees. , As soon as the liability insurance of the oil rig will be paid off -. The lawyers ang kikita ng malaki hindi ang biktima. dahil matatagalang itong kasong ito. I hope the Oil rig Company will remit directly to the victims family any share from the liability insurance collected, not thru their lawyers.

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