THE Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Friday, September 16, 2022, expressed readiness to bring the case of some 800 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stranded in a United States (US) military base in Diego Garcia to the latter’s Department of Labor (DOL) as well as its Navy officials.In a television interview, DMW Secretary Susan Ople said they are prepared to take the matter to the DOL and US Navy if the OFWs’ employer, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), will not honor the rights of its workers.”Our plan is to first talk to KBR. And, if nothing happens, we are prepared to write to the US DOL so that they can intervene with this problem,” said Ople.”We will have talks with them. If KBR does not give us a concrete answer, we will also be writing to the US Navy, which has a contract with KBR,” she added.Ople said the problem began after the OFWs were threatened by KBR that they will be fired if they go on vacation in the Philippines.”The vacation leave is part of the employment contract. And it is a basic labor right. It should be unconditional,” she said.The DMW chief said they are also raising the issue on low wages that are below US laws.”US law provides that the minimum wage is $7 an hour. Their salary is $5.25 per hour if I’m not mistaken,” said Ople.The Washington Post earlier came out with a report of hundreds of OFWs currently stranded in the remote American military base in Diego Garcia, which is an island in the Indian Ocean.The report said this was after KBR allegedly canceled regular chartered flights from Diego Garcia to the Philippines since the start of the year. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)