DAVAO CITY – Migrant rights group Migrante urged the Philippine government to impose sanctions against the recruitment agency that deployed an alleged underage Filipino domestic worker who is a victim of maltreatment by her employer in Saudi Arabia.
John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East regional director, said the minor whose record shows that she is 25 years old, was able to talk to her fellow wards at Saudi’s Social Welfare Agency (SWA) and tell them that she is only 17 years old.
Monterona said that alias Rina also added that she was maltreated.
“She was brought by her employer at SWA on September 19, and that day was very weak. On the 24th, we were informed that she could no longer walk and talk, and in a state of coma,” Monterona added.
Francis Dungca, Migrante Sectoral Partylist-Riyadh spokesperson said their group was alerted by a concerned Filipino ward at the SWA about the condition of the OFW after she was taken to the agency by her employer.
Dungca said when she was brought by her employer at SWA, she could hardly stand and walk.
Monterona said Rina underwent an MRI procedure early morning Saturday where a blood clot in her brain was found. He said they visited Rina at the hospital on Sunday and Tuesday.
Rina’s passport also shows that she is from Kabuntalan, Maguindanao, said Monterona.
He said they have already informed the Philippine Embassy and labor officials on her conditions and urged them “to confine Rina in a hospital to undergo medical check up.”
“The POEA should not dilly-dally to verify the information concerning Rina’s real age and gather additional information surrounding her deployment,” Monterona said.
“Upon confirmation of her being deployed underage and was a victim of human trafficking, (her) recruiter’s license must be cancelled immediately, and appropriate case must be filed,” he said.
The group calls for an inter-agency formation consisting of representatives from the Philippine Embassy’s Assistance to the Nationals (ATN), Department of Labor and Employment-Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Department of Social Welfare and Development to provide the OFW with assistance.
“The deployment of underage aspiring OFWs is still rampant. We are receiving at least three cases a month of underage OFWs who are usual victims of maltreatment,” Monterona said.
The group is also calling on other OFWs to donate blood for Rina “as her platelet is very low.” (davaotoday.com)