Middle East-bound OFWs warned of work hazards

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

FILIPINOS who are planning to seek greener pasture in Middle East countries should think twice before flying there, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Northern Mindanao (Owwa-10) said Tuesday.

“I hope they could think of the stories of people who worked in the Middle East and met their [misfortune] who either came home in a cadaver or [alive but with bruises on their bodies],” Owwa-10 officer-in-charge Harry Borres said Monday.

Borres worked in Bahrain as a welfare case officer from 2008 to 2010 where he handled different cases of Filipino workers, especially women, who encountered unfavorable experiences in the hands of their employers.


“In the Middle East, some of the cases I handled were mostly of the domestic helpers whose employers deprived them food, locked them inside their rooms, maltreated them, attempted for rape or even raped, unjust salary compensation, and ‘love case',” he said.

Every day, almost 3,000 Filipino skilled and non-skilled workers experience such incidents in the Arab countries and 69,000 all over the world.

He added there were many “runaway” workers in the Middle East who ended up in their office or knocking at the doors of the Philippine Embassy because they wished to go home immediately.

“Female runaway workers in the Middle East is nothing new to us. We receive them every single day and they would wish to fly to the Philippines by morning. Most of them are raped, gang-raped, and molested by their male employers,” he said.

During Owwa’s Pre-departure Orientation Seminar (PDOs), outbound OFWs are showed a series of multimedia videos where hapless stories of unfortunate OFWs are shown.

“The PDOS is to remind them what they are getting into,” Borres said.

“Aside from the people in video’s experiences, we tell them, I personally, that laws in the Middle East are difficult to comprehend. Rape cases there are so difficult to deal with. There, when a woman is raped, she is the one imprisoned,” he furthered.

“Sometimes, because of the nearing visa expirations of female Filipinos who are raped, we settle through an amicable agreement na lang. In their law, within 72 hours lang maka-file ug complaint ang complainant. Didto, dili basta-basta,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 20, 2014.

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