Bantay OCW (Ang Boses ng OFW)

Justice for maltreated OFW in Qatar

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Ma. Victoria Esquivas, an overseas Filipino worker in Qatar, was repatriated recently. Her work contract actually ended last August 2012, but she said her employer had refused to allow her to go home.

She had also learned that her employer did not get her the necessary working permit to make her stay in Qatar legal. She had stayed on, thinking that her employer was working on her permit.

Victoria did not receive her salary. She said her employer had promised she would receive it soon enough. When she continued to inquire about it, as she knew it was her right, Victoria was hurt physically by her employer. Her employer even threatened to put her in jail.

At that point, Victoria was sure that her employer had no plans to give her her salary and allow her to go home. She carefully planned her escape. She got her chance one night, when she was left alone. She saw other Filipinos on the street and asked them to bring her to the Philippine Embassy in Qatar.

Fellow OFWs took her in for the night and the next morning accompanied her to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO-OWWA). Due to her abrupt decision to escape, she was not able to bring her clothes and all her personal stuff.

Embassy officials decided to include Victoria on the list of OFWs scheduled to be sent home. According to Victoria, her employer had confiscated her passport, so the Philippine Embassy issued her a travel document, to serve as her one time travel pass.

On the 26th of March 2013, Victoria arrived in the Philippines. She is  set to file a case against Meccaj Manpower Agency. Not allowing her to return to the Philippines is against the law, especially since she had already fulfilled her contract. This in addition to not receiving her salary for the months she worked there.

Lawyers believe the Meccaj agency should compensate Victoria for the salary she lost and for the personal possessions she left behind.

All of the hardships that Victoria experienced in Qatar were very traumatic. She escaped physical as well as emotional abuse. More, her whole life was at stake during her ordeal.

Coming home with only the clothes on her back was torture. What pains her even more was that she was not able to bring even a piece of chocolate for her loved ones as pasalubong.

Bantay OCW will do its best to demand justice for OFWs like Victoria.

Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon & 12:30-

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E-mail: susankbantayocw@yahoo.com/bantayocwfoundation@yahoo.com

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  • pepito gwaps

    Not only her but many of them have unlucky experiences from working abroad. Just watch those OFWs who were returning home from the Middle east and who were supposed to be carrying a luggage bag filled with “pasalubong” with them but instead a plastic bag with a piece of food inside it…..Honestly, I pity them and my heart was broken when I saw them.

    Being an OFW is an option but once you are in it’s like one getting born again where you don’t know who will be your next parents are. They might be good or cruel to you. They might be good Samaritan or a sadistic one or maybe terrorist like that in Boston incident. Some employers are so strict that they never allow their maids to hold a mobile phone or even impose a no day-off policy. However, we can do something to avoid worst thing to happen in a worst case scenario to any OFW by adopting what our military personnel do in the jungle which are the “buddy system” and ” alright challenge”.

    The case of Ma. Victoria could be learned by the Phil. embassy earlier than expected if these kind of methods has been realized by our authority.

    In the “buddy system”, your partner and you would be accountable to each others lives and fates. Ideally, these two fellow workers assignments should be near to each other and they should know each others conditions always.(they should see each other once for a while ) Thus, any untoward incidents, employer abuses, brutality and loss of communication of her buddy must be reported to the embassy ASAP. Then our embassy must determine and respond to the feedback of the OFW as fast as 999 US emergency hotline and do whatever assistance they can do.

    In the “alright challenge”, the embassy reps must visit an OFWs especially those who were assigned in remote areas like in an Arabic house situated in the middle of the desert where only the roaming camels are the common scenery and they must check the OFWs well being whether they are “OK” physically and mentally or not. If they are not alright so it means something wrong in their working conditions and their services to that employer should be stopped and expect for further investigation.Those reps who lie and cover up irregularities must be dealt accordingly by the DFA..

    Additionally, try to include in the OFW PDOS some survival techniques or SOPs to react in some isolated cases as they say when the OFW’s are under attack by abusive employers or rapist bosses. Include how to survive without food and how to escape and evade. That is life!! They need to protect themselves because their families need them. If you can include a self-defense lesson, it would be great…

    As saying goes “Your family is happy if you are safe.”

  • Carlos_Iho

    Stop the deployment of DH to the middle east.

    The abuses will never stop since many or even most arabs do not have respect for other people. Respect for laborers is not inherent in them. Those who consider working as DH in arab countries should be discouraged. There are more bad than good experiences by the DH.

    Let us protect our women and keep them close to our homes and families. Those who have already been deployed, please bring them home.

    • mynnyx

      i agree………..1000 percent so that our women will not be abused and maltreated………..pumunta ka sa polo kawawa sila ……………………

  • Qatar Saad

    No one like any humen being to be treated like this, but its important to not generalize that Arabs are the one who treat people badly , people must know that most of the businesses in the Gulf are managed and ran by different nationalities , there are not only the Arab business men , you find people from all over the world such as Asian or European along with Arab business people

    • resortman

      We dont generalize, however most of the problems such as this are Overseas workers in Arabic countries, analizing the probability and statistics, Arabic countries rank the highest for abusive employers. They are the real Haram Nafar..!

  • http://twitter.com/kl_kch_oz disillusioned panda

    Come and work in Malaysia.You can have the weekends off and the country is safe generally (except Lahad Datu). The exchange rate is not bad either so you can send enough money back to the Phillipines for your family. I’ve always believed that the middle east is never safe especially for women.Just a suggestion.

  • misuari playboy

    OFW can work in Malaysia where you can have picnic as long as you want and you can bring along your RPG and M16.

  • Patikotiko

    For kasambahay applicants in Muslim places. Please think 1000 times before applying because they don’t like non Muslim servants there.

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