Victoria Lorzano, who has worked in Hong Kong for 10 years, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer by her doctor there.
When the doctor recommended surgery, Lorzano decided to come home because she did not want to have the procedure there where nobody would take care of her.
Upon her arrival in the country, she immediately sought the help of Bantay OCW and went to Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
Although a local doctor found that her breast cancer was only at stage 2, she still needs assistance. She was not able to finish her contract that would have ended in June. If she had the surgery in Hong Kong, she would have been covered by a medical insurance.
She has to have six sessions of chemotherapy, which she has to pay for herself. She spoke to Dr. Isarel Paras, senior manager of the communications division of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), through Radyo Inquirer.
With the assistance of Bantay OCW, she was also able to talk to Greg Rulloda, vice president for Philhealth Corporate Affairs, who assured her they would review her employment contract so she could avail of appropriate medical assistance and benefits.
Reader’s talk back
Willie Banlaoi: Wages and salaries, especially in more developed countries, are much higher than the cost of living. If one is frugal enough, he can save and, after a few years, can afford to travel and enjoy the fruits of his labor. In the Philippines wages/salaries are barely enough to meet basic necessities!
Danyale Quinto: Blacklisting employers with a bad track record related to employment of overseas Filipino workers is perhaps a monumental task for the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration). As you have mentioned in your article, employers with bad track records can find ways to get around the ban, as they can use their friend’s or relative’s name. Perhaps POEA should negotiate an agreement with host countries providing that, in the event a worker is maltreated by his/her employer and it is found that the visa used is somebody else’s, the employer and the owner of the visa should also be held accountable. Some recruiting agents are also collecting money (a kind of extortion or kotong or blackmail), especially when sending off a new OFW.
The way they do it is, on the day of the OFW’s departure, the agent will show up at the airport with the travel documents (passports, contracts, etc.). Before handing them over to the departing OFW, the agent will ask for additional cash. Those who refuse are threatened that their travel documents will not be released.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K., is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday, 11 a.m.-12 noon and 12:30-2 p.m., with audio/video live streaming on www.dziq.am from the studio at 2/F MRP Bldg., Mola St., corner Pasong Tirad St., Makati City, and on PTV 4, every Friday, 8-9 p.m. and GMA News TV International. Helpline is 0927-6499870 and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com