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Certified as fit to work, OFW is sent back for medical reasons


The Qatar Medical Commission required Angelito Cabillon to undergo a new health assessment to get his Pataka (labor card).

After one month and two weeks as a barista, Qatar Immigration ordered Cabillon to leave the country within 48 hours because he was found to have a scar in his lung.

But Cabillon, who applied through Jobsmanila International Inc. (formerly Achica International Placement Agency) in January was given a “fit to work” clearance after several medical examinations conducted by the Physician’s Diagnostic Center to verify the initial “blurred” findings in his lungs.

He left for Qatar on May 19, 2011, eager to work for a foreign employer and give his family a better future. Cabillon considered it his destiny to be an OFW since several members of his family had worked abroad. Both his parents worked in Israel.

To cover the cost of his overseas employment application, his recruitment agency gave him a referral so he could get a loan from the PJH Group, a lending agency. Cabillon got  a P40,000 loan, payable in six months with interest amounting to P23,000.

With his brother as comaker for the loan, he  submitted a photocopy of the title to the family house and lot.

But after working for only over a month, he was ordered to return  to the Philippines in July because Qatar doctors found the lung scar. On the same day Cabillon arrived in Manila, his father, 72, passed away.

After the interment, he went to Jobsmanila International. He was offered a recompensation amounting to P10,000 only.  Jobsmanila also told him he should personally handle his problem with the lending agency.

Cabillon was advised by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to claim the unexpired portion of his 21 months indenture, which was equivalent to P392,000.

Bantay OCW is with Cabillon in his battle for justice. He is now preparing for his case to be heard by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) on Sept. 7 and 14.

Our collaborators from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) are demanding that Cabillon’s alleged “fit to work” medical certificate be released by Jobsmanila International.

Traumatic encounter

Joseph Banaag applied as fire alarm technician at Al Mustaqbal International Inc. In April, after less than two months on the job, he came home.

Banaag’s first night at Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was traumatic. He was  awakened from his sleep by a feeling that somebody was touching sensitive parts of his body. When he woke up he saw his workmate, an Egyptian engineer, in his room. He told Banaag it was no big deal and he should go back to sleep.

Our kabayan went to Saudi with a bald head and no moustache, not realizing what effect his looks would have on other nationalities.

Banaag told the Egyptian to get out of his room. He locked the door as soon as he was alone.

The following weeks were very difficult for the OFW. The Philippine Embassy confirmed that he was a victim of contract substitution as evidenced by an indenture added just 15 minutes before Banaag’s departure.

The last minute addition meant he would work not as a fire alarm technician but a laborer. Also, his compensation, food and accommodation allowances were not what he expected.

He appealed for assistance from Al Mustaqbal International Inc. However, an employee told him that since he wanted to go home, they could not do anything to help him.

Fortunately, the Philippine Embassy and his employer helped and Banaag was able to come  home.


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Tags: Employment , OFW , overseas Filipino worker , Qatar , Qatar Medical Commission

  • Anonymous

    “Our collaborators from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)”? What sort of journalism is this, a paid article or a favor for a kamag-anak/kaibigan?

  • Anonymous

    the OFWs in the Ph should organize themselves into a union/association ( only one needed ) to protect them from the unscrupulous recruiters and government agencies fooling them, ok? as a force, they will be heard and would have very strong influence for their benefits, do it now! do not get any politicians into your ranks, “scratch” them if they will try to come in,  they will use your group for their personal advantage, ok?

  • Anonymous

    It is really about time that OFWs who are not ideologues should band themselves together in asserting their rights and call for fair, transparent and ethical policies and practices. They should empower themselves and not always allow themselves to become forever victims. They should educated themselves of their rights. Agencies and government officials should also stand up for ethical policies and practices. The overseas employment program has for too long been so un-transparent and unfair. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MMNHJZHWINETMOHYV6S2DQ24GY Dan

    I’m also an OFW, the real problem is here in the philippines because many recruitment agency’s are tied up with this fly by night medical clinic….

  • http://twitter.com/riccisan ricci santiago

    I am in recruitment before, yung scar sa lungs eh binigyan na ng go signal na pwede na payagan mag abroad yun. ewan ko ba dito why pinauwi, tapos now nagkautang pa.
    konting tiis kabayan

  • Anonymous

    Going abroad is a risk. You win, you lose.
    In case of the two, they lost. No  big deal. Their case is isolated case.
    There are millions of Filipinos working in middle east with complains and no complaints. Some are satisfied and some are not but what can they do, they are not in their own country.

    Philippine medical record say he is fit but Qatar government says he is unfit,then he is unfit, , we should follow the government of Qatar. If Cabillon is fit, then he should look for work in the Philippines with his lung condition.
    There are millions more that need attention not his.Don’t aggravate the situation by making Cabillon a big deal.

    PS…Bakit kailangan tulungan pa ito ng IBP. Masyadong OA itong IBP. Malinaw ang kaso, which is correct, Philippine medical or Qatar medical, fit or unfit…it depends on who is strict on its health regulations.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BNA6FLOA3ZJAH6IFP2KGLUDCXE bcon

    The Qatar medical tests are really very strict. My cousin also had some sleepless nights when he was asked to do the Xray test 3 times. They are really very, very strict on their medical tests. 

  • Anonymous

    This is actually a mistake on the part of  POEA and our Department of Health when they agreed with GCC Ministry of Health on Scar as Unfit due to the problems they encountered  with some of our OFW’s who were given a Fit to Work medical reports because of some medical clinics who allowed OFW’s with Xrays that are positive with PTB . To prevent the medical clinics to use the loopholes and close the gray area, the GCC Ministry of Health considered all  those with Scars as unfit. Prior to year 2005, a  scar in the chest is considered fit to work. I know because I am on the same predicament but all my medical results Xray had all the said findings and the authorized medical clinic  all gave me FIT to Work but all these changed when  GCC Ministry of Health(KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, UAE and Kuwait) met  our  govt representatives POEA and DOH. This ruling became a nightmare to me year 2005 when I left my overseas job and accepted a job in the Middle East because in the Philippines I failed my medical examination due to Scar in my Chest. I went to two medical clinics but all failed. I went to the DOLE Secretary and POEA Administrator and DOH at San Lazaro to appeal said findings what  they  told me is they are going to talk again with the GCC Ministry Healths on their next meeting but nothing happened.. POEA can only advised me to just ask for a visit visa and formalize  my employment when Iam in said country. I think only Qatar is really strict in terms of implementing said regulation on Xray result with Scar, others are  lenient on said issue  since if it is  not active and it is totally healed then there is no issue, Also if the worker is not really going to work in a petro chemical environment, then the possibility of aggravating one’s health is remote.

  • Anonymous

    Certified as fit to work but he is not certified as healthy man.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iggy-Ramirez/100002669112738 Iggy Ramirez

    If you have plans of going abroad:

    1. Do not eat kwek kwek on the streets. People who have hepa might have dipped their food laced with their saliva onto the gravy or vinegar.

    2. Do not have sex with prostitutes or gays, they account for 95% of total AIDS transmission cases in the Philippines.

    3. Stay home.

    4. Drink lots of water.



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