Mauled Filipina in Iraq is coming home
The Filipina domestic helper who livestreamed her frantic plea for help in war-torn Iraq is soon going home.
Alice Soriano Aguilan, who still has bruises on her face, will fly back to the Philippines once she gets her exit visa, she told INQUIRER.net in an exclusive interview on Christmas eve.
Aguilan, 39, said it could be her Iraqi employer, Mazen Junis Alsamawi, who would foot her travel bills.
“Ang alam ko po, sir ko ang sasagot sa lahat ng gastos,” she said in an online interview. “Mabait po ang sir ko at mabilis kausap.”
(What I know is sir will pay for all the expenses. He is very kind and approachable.)
Aguilan on Friday took to social media to make a tearful plea to rescue her after she was allegedly mauled by Hammode Alsamawi, a relative of her employer.
During her live broadcast on Facebook, Hammode, a Muslim, was seen praying after the alleged mauling incident. On seeing Aguilan holding a mobile phone, he approached the Filipina and struck and kicked her several times as he tried to grab her smartphone.
Kin, friends watched in horror
She was screaming as terrified relatives and friends back in the Philippines watched the live broadcast on Facebook helplessly.
A teenage Iraqi boy intervened and Hammode stopped assaulting Aguilan.
As Hammode was about to leave the house, he was seen on video making a throat-slitting gesture.
Mazen Junis Alsamawi, her male employer, arrived but was too busy with his visitor and brushed aside her complaints, she said.
Aguilan decided to contact officials of the Philippine Embassy in Iraq, this time via Facebook Messenger. They arrived 15 minutes later.
Aguilan then informed her boss that she was leaving, for good. Mazen Junis tried to stop her but, fearing for her life, she said she insisted to go.
Mazen Junis had no choice but to hand her passport to the embassy officials and allowed her to leave, said Aguilan.
The Philippine officials brought Aguilan to Iraqi police to press charges.
“Dinala ako sa police pero ayaw akong tanggapin dahil passport lang ang meron ako,” said Aguilan, an undocumented overseas worker.
(They brought me to the police but they couldn’t process my complaint because all I had was my passport.)
Without a valid work visa, she could actually land in jail in Iraq.
“Kaya dinala na lang nila ako sa hospital para ipa-medical ang ulo ko dahil grabe ang sakit,” she said. Laboratory results showed Aguilan sustained minor head injuries.
(So they just brought me to the hospital to have my head checked because it hurt really bad.)
In the Middle East, many domestic workers suffer various forms of violence and abuse at the hands of their employers.
Aguilan remains in the custody of the Philippine Embassy in Iraq as she awaits repatriation.
A widow, Aguilan is excited to be reunited with her four children and two grandchildren in their hometown of Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
But understandably, she still can’t be home for Christmas.
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