Recruiters of abused OFW in Hong Kong face suspension

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Friday, May 16, 2014

RECRUITMENT agencies, both local and foreign, are facing possible suspension over the case of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Rowena Uychiat, who was abused by her employer in Hong Kong.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Hong Kong are already preparing to extend assistance to Uychiat in the filing of a complaint against local recruiter NAR Training and Management Service and foreign agency Gracious Employment Agency Ltd.

"The POEA will assist Uychiat in the filing of a complaint against NAR Training and Management Service, which made her to pay P45,000 in placement fee," said Baldoz.

"We are also conducting an investigation on the alleged withholding of Uychiat’s passport by the Hong Kong agency," added Philippine Labor Attaché to Hong Kong Manuel Roldan.

Actions against her recruiters were one of the assistances asked by Uychiat after she was able to escape from her employer, Yui Anna Hoi Yin, last April 25.

Polo had earlier blacklisted Yui Anna Hoi Yin, who allegedly tortured and abused Uychiat during the latter's stay at the former as a household service worker.

"Yui Anna Hoi Yin cannot hire another worker unless police investigation shows otherwise. The Polo will not process any contract document which the employer will present as a pre-requisite to visa issuance," Roldan had said.

Based on Uychiat's narration to Polo officials, she said she has been working for her employer since July 23, 2013 without any rest day and statutory holidays, with her employer promising to pay her these days. Her employer also confiscated her Hong Kong identity card, passport, and employment contract.

Uychiat alleged that her employer physically assaulted her for three months after she started working for her such as be hitting, slapping, and hair pulling "even for simple mistakes."

On all occasion that her employer was assaulting her, Uychiat did not file a police report and seek medical attention out of fear of being arrested since she is not in possession of her Hong Kong ID.

Uychiat only saw an opportunity to escape on April 25, while her employer and family were in Macau, by going to the Sham Shui Po Police Station and was accompanied by a distant relative and fellow OFW Liezl Mateo.

Uychiat is currently being sheltered by the Mission for Migrant Workers Ltd. (MFMW), a charitable organization for OFWs.

Aside from running after her recruiters and employers, Baldoz said Uychiat is also being provided assistance by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Uychiat is an active member of the OWWA, which entitles her to livelihood and loan assistance should she decide to come back to the Philippines.

OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon said she can avail of the Balik Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay livelihood assistance of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), while her 19-year-old daughter can avail of the Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP), and that her 13-year-old son will be included on the list of Tuloy Aral Program beneficiaries. (HDT/Sunnex)

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