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

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12:20 AM September 18th, 2011

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September 18th, 2011 12:20 AM

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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