Saudi Arabian prince helps abused OFW
Thanks to the generosity of a Saudi prince and representations made by the Philippine government, the Filipino domestic helper scalded by her employer in 2014 will finally be coming home.
In a Wednesday press briefing, House Assistant Minority Leader and ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III announced that Pahima Alagasi was expected to arrive “hopefully in two weeks’ time.”
Alagasi got second-degree burns when her Saudi employer doused her with boiling water in 2014 after she had accidentally dropped the cap of the water heater while making coffee.
While she later managed to escape and find refuge at a center run by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Alagasi could not be repatriated because her employer had filed slander charges against her for pictures of her burns posted on social media.
The case, pending at an appeals court, was resolved after Saudi Arabia Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif paid the employer’s claim for $66,000 in damages.
“(Saudi Ambassador to the Philippines Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Bussairy) notified me that the retaliatory cases have been resolved through the intercession of [the] Saudi Prince,” Bertiz said.
“We consider Pahima’s repatriation as a heartwarming gesture to President Duterte, who brought up her case,” the party-list representative added, referring to the March 19 meeting at Malacañang where Alagasi’s plight was brought up.
“Without their help, Pahima’s dream of seeing her children would have been impossible,” Bertiz told reporters.
Alagasi’s clearance is currently being processed.
In the same press briefing, Susan Ople of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, credited Bertiz with “putting the case on the (Palace) agenda.”
Alagasi, then 22, had complained of maltreatment by her employer.
After being doused with boiling water, she was treated by a Filipina nurse at the Raseel Medical Center for second-degree burns on her back and legs, but was made to continue working despite her injury.
Alagasi later escaped with the help of the nurse, but could not be repatriated after the employer sued her for slander because her cousin had posted pictures of her burns on Facebook.
Ople said Alagasi’s case showed the need for a briefing on “social media protocols” for overseas Filipino workers, because of different laws regarding social media in host countries.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.