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Deported OFWs complain of neglect by PHL Embassy in Japan

A group of Filipino overseas workers deported from Japan last July claimed on Tuesday that they were neglected by the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo during their months of detention at Japanese immigration centers. "One year and seven months akong naka-detain. Ni walang [sinuman] galing sa Philippine Embassy na dumalaw sa amin,” said deported OFW Celso Pamiloza in a report aired on "24 Oras" “Hindi kami naipagtanggol. Sa halip sumang-ayon sila [na ma-deport kami]," Pamiloza added. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had reported that Japan deported 75 undocumented Filipinos, including eight children, last month for immigration offenses.   Erly Regondon, a pastoral worker in Japan, said a fact-finding team from the Japanese Catholic Bishops' Conference concluded that the OFWs did not receive adequate assistance from the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo. "We found that their human rights were violated and their rights were disregarded," she said. According to the fact-finding team's report, the embassy did not help process the OFWs papers, which would have legitimized their stay in Japan. Nor did the embassy provide any form of medical counseling, given the trauma the OFWs suffered while in detention. However, DFA spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez denied that the Philippine Embassy in Japan was remiss in its duty in providing assistance to the undocumented workers. "Upon learning of the Japanese government's decision to deport Filipino nationals who violated its immigration laws, the Philippine government, through our embassy in Tokyo, immediately engaged in dialogue with Japanese immigration officials to ensure the safety and welfare, and the humane and dignified treatment of Filipino nationals during deportation,” said Hernandez. The Japanese Catholic Bishops Conference said that as of August 2013, there are still around 5,000 undocumented OFWs staying in Japan, with over 100 of them detained in immigration centers. — Xianne Arcangel/DVM, GMA News