KIDAPAWAN, Philippines – A 30-year-old Filipino domestic helper from the southern Philippines, who escaped from her employer in Kuwait because she could no longer bear alleged physical abuses, has been arrested by the police.
But unlike many other runaway overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who either languish in jail or get stranded in the host country, Amelita Rebuya will be able to return home to the Philippines very soon.
This assurance comes from Rebuya’s recruitment agency, Phiilquest International Management & Service Contractor, which said it took action right away after learning of the OFW’s plight.
Conrad Crisostomo, head of Philquest in the southern city Kidapawan City, said the agency learned of Rebuya’s plight from her elder sister Nora Laudatu, who resides in Barangay Kibia in Matalam town of North Cotabato.
Crisostomo said Philquest immediately contacted its partner agency in Kuwait and coordinated with other government agencies to search for Rebuya.
Officials of the Philippines Embassy in Kuwait then set forth to locate Rebuya. With the cooperation of Philquest's partner which talked with the employer, she was released to the custody of the Embassy.
In a letter addressed to Philquest, the Rekabi Group and Khalid Dakhnan in Kuwait said Rebuya’s sponsor or employer issued on Thursday the ticket and passport.
"Rebuya’s employer has traveled to another country that is why the issuance of the ticket was delayed," Constanino quoted Khalid Dakhnan as saying.
Dakhnan also asked Philquest to inform Rebuya’s family back in the Philippines about the matter, said Constantino.
"Rebuya is a documented OFW. This is the good thing about being a documented OFW. It’s so easy to follow up her issues and concerns," said Herminia Infanta, manager of the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) in Kidapawan.
Laudatu said her sister wants to return home and start her life anew.
"But if she wants to go to another country and work there, we will always be willing to help her," said Crisostomo of Philquest.
"It was just unfortunate that she found an employer who turned out to be her problem," he added.
Cases of runaway OFWs had been on the rise in the past years in the Middle East.
According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), it has repatriated a total of 405 OFWs mostly from the Middle East from January to July 2009.
In 2008 alone, OWWA brought home a total of 5,540 distressed OFWs from various countries, mostly domestic helpers in Middle Eastern countries and Asia.
Fleeing from employers
Last week, the OWWA also repatriated 80 Filipino workers from the Middle East. Of the total 50 came from Amman, Jordan; 16 from Dammam, Saudi Arabia; 10 from Damascus, Syria; three from Muscat, Oman; and one from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Among those repatriated were 29-year-old Aisa Guiapar, who was also molested by her employer; 45-year-old Gloria Ubarde, whose employer gave her cigarette and injection marks; Lolita Montesclaro who was imprisoned in Dammam; three of the seven OFWs who were locked up by their foreign recruiter in Oman; and 10 Filipino workers who were imprisoned in the Duma Detention Center in Syria.
Philippine labor officials in the United Arab Emirates have also noted a 20-percent increase in the number of Filipino domestic helpers fleeing from their employers so far this year. - GMANews.TV