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Bantay OCW (Ang Boses ng OFW)

Maltreatment at the agency


Christina Rosales of Gubat, Sorsogon, related in an interview with Radyo Inquirer how her husband, Jesus, worked in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, but did not receive his salary for nine months. He had also complained that he was not fed regularly.

Jesus could not take it anymore so he ran away from his employer, along with a friend, to find another job in Jeddah.

Christina went to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) in Bicol and Manila to report the incident. She recalled her husband telling her that he was advised by someone in the consulate to run away and file charges against his employer. When he did, that same person scolded him for running away and warned him that his employer might press charges against him. Jesus was confused.

Verbal abuse

Christina also reported the incident to Edwin Escudero of the International Resources Development Services Agency (IRDSA), the agency of her husband. Instead of acting on her complaint about her husband’s unpaid salaries and poor working conditions, Escudero threw crude insults at her and accused her of inventing stories about her husband’s plight.

Bantay OCW learned that Escudero, who had referred her husband to the agency, was not an IRDSA staff member but the personal driver of one of the agency’s owner, a certain Juno Reduca. When contacted by Bantay OCW,  Bing Gamboa, IRDSA’s recruitment officer, promised to act on Christina’s complaint of verbal abuse by Escudero.

Christina is thankful because a Good Samaritan provided shelter and temporary work to Jesus. When the Saudi government launched a crackdown on illegal workers in the country, Jesus was in hot water again. His former employer was holding his passport. He was advised to get a new passport by declaring his old passport lost.

Bantay OCW referred this case to Labor Attaché Alejandro Padaen of the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah, and he gave his word that he would help Jesus. Padaen said they could issue a travel document to Jesus but he needs to get exit clearance from his former employer.

At any rate, the IRDSA should be held responsible for the nonpayment of Jesus’ salary and other benefits. The IRDSA should also send a plane ticket so Jesus can come home soon. What about the agency’s driver who berated Christina? He should be fired immediately!

Can a welder be a seaman?

Is it possible for a welder, a graduate of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, to be a seaman? This caller said he had a seaman’s book, a passport and other documents.

Reply: Yes, it is. Engr. Peter Lugue, AVP for crewing operations of the Philippine Transmarine Carriers, said there are job opportunities for welders. For details, please tune in to our radio program titled “Seafarer’s Hour” every Thursday at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Better yet, attend the program by going to the  Radyo Inquirer studio at 2/F Media Resource Plaza Bldg., Mola St. cor. Pasong Tirad St., Makati City.

Jailed but not guilty

We hope you can help those who are jailed but not guilty of any wrongdoing, said another caller.

Reply: We are willing to help. Please send any of your relatives who can represent you at the Radyo Inquirer station or e-mail us at bantayocwfoundation@yahoo.com or susankbantayocw@yahoo.com.


Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 12 noon and 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. with audio-video live streaming: www.dziq.am.  Helpline: 0927-6499870/0920-9684700.

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Tags: Maltreatment , OFW , overseas Filipino worker , Overseas Workers Welfare Administration , OWWA

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