From Athens, Greece, our news reporters received an overseas call from overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Marilyn (not her real name), who wanted to seek assistance for her niece Irene, an OFW in Saudi Arabia.
She sounded very anxious over the phone because of what happened to Irene, a household service worker in Al Rass, Qassim.
According to Marilyn, Irene was deployed last Dec. 15, 2013. However, when she arrived at her employer’s residence, she was immediately placed in a room. “Do not leave this room,” was allegedly the first order she received from her employer. Irene stayed in that room for four days. But she was only provided food twice.
Irene’s husband, Mario, from Nueva Ecija, went to Inquirer Radio to inform us that his wife is now in the hands of her third employer. In no less than a month of working in Saudi Arabia, Irene was already handled by three employers.
According to Lejani, Irene’s cousin, the family contacted the local recruitment agency that deployed Irene overseas. But the only response they have received from the agency so far is that they should not worry about anything because Irene was allegedly “being trained” by the first employer, and this was the reason she was now working for a different employer.
Detained and starved for four days? Is this really part of the training? And worse, she was apparently made to initially work without compensation. Is this also part of their so-called training?
Raysa International Smart Employment Services (formerly Rises) should deploy some of its officials and make them experience the kind of training that they are talking about.
Mario and Lejani have filed complaints against Raysa International through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (Poea).
According to Poea’s Repatriation Division, Raysa International is responsible for Irene’s welfare. Poea has advised the agency to immediately act on this matter and provide OFW Irene a ticket to return home within 15 days.
If Raysa International fails, Poea will suspend the agency’s license.
When we were talking to Mario and Lejani on Inquirer Radio, we also received prompt assistance from DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, through Labor Attaché David Des Dicang, to expedite the resolution of this case.
Bantay OCW then coordinated with the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh by transmitting all information regarding Irene’s grievances for breach of contract and her relatives’ plea to immediately facilitate her return to the country. Labor Attaché Rustico Dela Fuente of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, promptly handled our case.
Irene’s first employer is allegedly holding her passport, and her third employer is hiding her cellular phone.
Despite fears of Irene’s family that divulging this case to concerned authorities may have repercussions, Bantay OCW argued that they have taken the better option of facilitating Irene’s access to OFW services.
For the relatives of our OFWs, you have a big role to play in guarding the welfare of your overseas loved ones. Don’t hesitate to report immediately any complaints to concerned authorities for prompt assistance and to avoid further complications.