Senators call for review of OFW deployment policies

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Monday, May 26, 2014

SENATORS Cynthia Villar and Loren Legarda called on all concerned government agencies on Monday to review their policies in deploying overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to guarantee their welfare and protection.

“The government should ensure the safety of Filipino workers through stricter implementation of deployment so that they will not fall prey to abusive employers. We should also invoke diplomatic measures like the bilateral agreement with the Saudi government to ensure that our Filipino workers are being protected,” Villar added.

The senator noted that domestic helpers are more vulnerable to maltreatment and abuses because they stay 24/7 in the houses of their employers.


She said that nobody can witness abusive employers in case they subject their house helpers to verbal and physical abuses or even sexual abuses.

The repatriated Filipino migrant workers are Angelina Gailo Molina, 49, of Zabarte Road, Caloocan City; Florabel Sangrador Zambo, 40, Miryamville Housing Project, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Noria Eyas Nor, 45, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. They all worked as domestic helpers.

They arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 at 11 a.m. Monday and proceeded to Villar’s Office at the Senate in Pasay City.

Villar said the case of repatriated OFW, Noria Eyas Nor, who was even jailed for four days when she sought the help of Saudi police after the 65-year-old son of her employer attempted to rape her and threatened her last January 23, should alarm the government.

Eyas escaped due to fear. She absconded from her employer’s house last April 24.

Nor’s employer reportedly arrived at the Saudi police station and forced Nor to sign a document in Arabic. When she refused, she was sent to jail and stayed there for four days. They also threatened to jail her husband, who was also working as caretaker in the same household.

Nor learned her husband is still safe and remains working with the same employer. But she later received a handwritten letter from her husband, allegedly disowning and divorcing her as his wife. It was signed by her employers as witnesses. Since the attempted rape, she was no longer able to communicate with her husband. She reclaimed her remaining belongings, ransacked by her employer, through the help of PCG Jeddah.

In the case of Molina, in the first four months working as DH for an Indonesian national, she was already maltreated, kicked and verbally abused by her employer.

Zambo also ran away from her employer before any harm could happen to her after being accused of stealing and verbally abusing her and threatening her life.

Senator Loren Legarda also urged the Philippine government to pursue charges against those responsible for the abuse of OFW Pahima Alagasi Palacasi.

Through a Senate resolution, Legarda urged the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) to exercise the Doctrine of Parens Patriae in pursuing the filing of the appropriate charges against the employer, recruitment agency and other individuals responsible for the abuse against Palacasi.

The Doctrine of Parens Patriae is defined as the inherent power and authority of the state to provide protection to every citizen especially to those persons who are incapable of defending themselves due to their limited capability.

Palacasi, a domestic helper in Riyadh, sustained second-degree burns from her back down to her legs after her employer scalded her with boiling water.

“The inhumane treatment inflicted on Ms. Palacasi is a clear case that deserves immediate action by the government through legal action. The individuals who are responsible for such cruel conduct deserve a distinct place in jail,” Legarda said.

The senator said that such drastic action against Palacasi’s perpetrators will serve as a stern warning against abusive employers of OFWs and a deterrent to the rampant practice of maltreatment suffered by Filipinos especially those in the vulnerable household service sector.

“The government’s action on this case will send a strong message to the more than two million OFWs abroad that the Philippine government is absolutely serious in uplifting their rights even in a foreign jurisdiction,” Legarda said. (Camille P.Balagtas/Sunnex)

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