Maltreated OFW returns home in Tarlac

By Homer Teodoro

TARLAC CITY, Tarlac, Nov. 10 (PNA) –An overseas Filipino worker from this province has finally returned back home from Saudi Arabia where she was maltreated by her employer.

Rea Lopez, who ran away from her employer, enabled to get home through a fellow OFW who uploaded her video in a social media account where she was seeking help.

The video made by Ceng Legado, who has been working in Saudi Arabia as heavy equipment operator since 1980, became a trend and caught the attention of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Land Base Department board of director Ermie Lagman-Garon.

Garon immediately acted on it and checked into the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) if Lopez is a documented OFW.

“It will be easier for us to trace the employment agency who sent off OFWs abroad if they are documented. Meaning, they are not illegal OFWs,” Garon said.

It was found out that Alhabeshi International Services, Inc, a POEA licensed recruitment agency in the Philippines, was the one who processed the papers of Lopez to work in Saudi Arabia.

Garon said she called up the recruitment agency and urged to do all efforts to get back Lopez home.

The recruitment agency then called up its counterpart agency Riyahd-Al-Olayah in Saudi Arabia and worked out the immediate return of Lopez.

In an interview with Lopez Monday, she narrated her ordeal at the hands of her employer Abdul Kasem Khaarmit Marfud Al-Ruwely as indicated in the contract.

Lopez said she decided to run away as she could no longer bear the hardship and maltreatment from her employer where she worked for two months.

The maltreated OFW said that there were times she will call for help.

“But, nobody comes to rescue me,” she said.

Lopez said that she even thought of committing suicide.

But, she said that she thinks of her family, especially her three children whom she left behind in the sleepy town of Sta. Ignacia.

“I thought of just end it all there. I was afraid first of running away because I do not know where to go. I do not know anybody in the area. I have no friends. My employer took away my cellphone and I can’t call anybody. I felt so hopeless,” Lopez said while wiping the tears with her bare hands.

Her husband Marlon was also in tears while listening to the story of her wife.

Lopez suffered some bruises in her hands and legs and her head kept on aching.

“That’s the usual cases we handled at the OWWA. Our OFWs that were victims of maltreatment by their employer said they were always hit in the head. Maybe, the employers don’t want to leave markings as evidence of maltreatment,” Garon said.

Garon said that they will assist Lopez in filing complaint against her employer.

She also said that OWWA will give a package of livelihood and counselling to Lopez so that she can start her life anew. (PNA)