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In Syria, Filipino workers who turned to embassy complain of maltreatment

Thursday, March 8, 2012

In Syria, Filipino workers who turned to embassy complain of maltreatment

 Distressed OFWs in war-torn Syria are being sent by the Philippine embassy to jail after they tried to escape not only the dangers of war but also maltreatment from their employers.

MANILA – Overworked and underpaid, domestic helper Analiza Muaña, 32, escaped from her employer in Syria.

Not only did she clean the house but she also took care of the children, did the laundry and other household chores. She also cleaned the house of her employer’s relatives. Her employer did not provide her three meals a day and was paid a measly $175 salary instead of $400 as stated in her contract.

On June 5, 2011, she escaped and went to the Philippine embassy there to seek refuge. The Philippine embassy endorsed her to prison because her employer reported her to the authorities. She stayed at the cramped jail for a week before she was released. She went back to the Philippine embassy but her nightmare did not end there.

Muaña’s experience is not isolated. Other overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Syria also received the same treatment she got from the Philippine embassy. It is as though they were going from one hell to another.

Inhumane situation
Muaña met several other OFWs at the temporary house called the Filipino Workers Resource Centers (FWRCs) in the Philippine embassy.

They were denied a decent meal. “They measure everything. We eat one cup of rice, chicken bones or one slice of eggplant as viand and soup while they (the embassy official) eat good food,” Muaña said.

Another domestic helper, Arlene Castillo, 37, who also stayed at the temporary shelter, corroborated Muaña’s testimony. “They prohibited us from buying groceries even as the food they gave was not enough. We were also prohibited to go outside of the embassy. In the morning, we would only eat half of the Arabic bread and tea,” Castillo told Bulatlat.com.

The experience of Ruth Martinez, 37, another domestic helper, is worse. Martinez got sick while staying at the embassy. She went to the temporary shelter on Sept. 23, 2011 after escaping from her employer.
After two days, she and six others were brought to the hospital because of food poisoning. “We were all vomiting, we had diarrhea. I was very dizzy and my blood pressure also shot up,” Martinez told Bulatlat.com in an interview. All they ate was the food served at the embassy..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/08/in-syria-filipino-workers-who-turned-to-embassy-complain-of-maltreatment/


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