Hong Kong migrants call for the removal of “OFW” lawmaker
“ACTS-OFW representative Aniceto ‘John’ D. Bertiz III is not even an OFW. He is in fact an owner of one of Philippines’ biggest recruitment agencies. He is arrogant and disrespectful even to the people he claims to represent. He is a habitual abuser of authority.”
This was the reaction of Dolores Balladares-Pelaez, chairperson of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK) after a video of Rep. Bertiz scolding and confiscating the ID of a Manila airport security screener who called Bertiz’ attention for passing through the security scanner without removing his shoes, went viral.
“It was Bertiz who violated the airport security protocol, a security measure that only the Philippine president can be exempted. The least he could have done is to humbly apologize and go through the security screening again,” said Balladares-Pelaez.
“But no! His trapo ego was so hurt that even after ignoring the security personal, he still went back just to scold him and illegally confiscate the poor man’s ID. That is a totally unacceptable behavior for someone who wants to be addressed as an ‘Honorable’ congressman,” Balladares-Pelaez averred.
Balladares-Pelaez also recalled UNIFIL-MIGRANTE’s personal experience of Bertiz’ arrogance.
“In January 2017, we sought a dialogue with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Undersecretary Joel Maglungsod who was visiting Hong Kong to discuss our demands particularly the abolition of the overseas employment certificate (OEC). To our surprise, Rep. Bertiz also came to the said dialogue uninvited, spoke for almost 20 minutes and lectured us on the need for the OEC and that only his proposed “OFW ID” can replace the OEC,” Balladares-Pelaez said.
Balladares-Pelaez narrated how Bertiz got mad and raised his voice to UNIFIL-MIGRANTE secretary General Eman Villanueva who politely raised his hand wanting to tell Bertiz to not take so much of their time with Usec Joel Maglungsod who was yet to respond to their appeal. “We were all shocked when he shouted at Eman and falsely accused him of being an undocumented migrant after Eman exposed him as a recruitment agency owner,” she added.
The video of the “shouting match” between Bertiz and Villanueva posted by HKPinoyTV also went viral in Facebook. Recently, another video of Bertiz speaking in a mass oath-taking of agricultural and biosystems engineers went viral after he said that those who do not know Bong Go (special assistance to the president) will not get their license. In July this year, Bertiz and his wife were also implicated by an employment agency owner in a Php6.8 million corruption and bribery scandal in DOLE.
“He is not worthy to represent our sector in Congress. He is only representing himself and his kind – recruitment agencies. He is a power tripper and he thinks he can get away with it because of his closeness to Philippine Pres. Duterte and his personal assistant Sec. Bong Go,” Balladares-Pelaez stressed.
“Bertiz has crossed the line so many times. He should be punished by the House of Representatives for disorderly behaviour and be expelled from Congress,” Balladares-Pelaez concluded.
UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK is an alliance of more than 30 OFW associations fighting for the rights and welfare of migrant workers in the territory for more than 30 years.