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Pinay claims of being duped into working as housemaid in Bahrain

June 23, 2012 10:00pm
A Filipina who applied at a recruitment agency in the Philippines as an English private tutor in Manama, Bahrain claimed that she ended up being a domestic worker there.
 
Irene Ulangkaya Hadjiabie, 32, told GMA News Online on Saturday that she sought a job in Bahrain to earn money for her three children.
 
“Noong October 28 o 29 last year pumirma ako ng kontrata na para sa housemaid sa Bahrain. Kaya ako pumayag dahil sabi sa akin na pag dating ko sa Bahrain ay may bagong kontrata daw ako na pipirmahan for skilled workers,” she said.
 
Hadjiabie shared details of her departure for Bahrain in November last year:
 
  • November 2: She paid her agency a placement fee for skilled workers amounting to P20,000;
  • November 3 – she paid P3,500 for her medical exams and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration processed her Overseas Employment Certificate;
  • November 4 – she left the Philippines, and
  • November 5 – she arrived in Bahrain.
 
She then stayed for five hours in the airport until her agency fetched her and turned her over to her new employer, a Bahraini couple who allegedly paid BHD 720 (P80,930) to Hadjiabie’s agency for her visa.
 
Not hurt but still maltreated
 
 
On November 12, a week after being employed, Hadjiabie complained to her employer that she applied as an English private tutor and not as a housemaid.
 
Her employer then went with her to Hadjiabie’s agency where they discussed the matter.
 
Hadhiabie stayed overnight at the agency and was allegedly advised that they couldn’t do anything about her complaint because her employer did not commit any violation.
 
“Bumalik ka nalang kung may violation, kapag meron pwede ka naming saklolohan,” she recalled being told by the agency.

She was then brought back to her employer the next day.
 
When asked by GMA News Online if she was being physically abused she replied: “Hindi naman ako sinasaktan.”
 
Unfortunately, she allegedly experienced the following from her employer:
 
  • Verbal abuse
  • Insufficient food
  • Allowed to sleep only for four hours
  • Frequently delayed salary, and
  • Being paid BHD 100 instead of the minimum wage of BHD 150.
 
A heated argument
 
On May 17, 2012, Hadjiabie had an argument with her employer who allegedly forced her to sign a contract.
 
The contract states she should finish a two-year commitment or she will have to pay all the expenses that her employer has invested in her.
 
Her decision not to sign the contract allegedly angered her employer, who reportedly went so far as to claim that the Filipina had stolen a mobile phone.
 
Hadjiabie’s employer took her again to her agency where they surrendered Hadjiabie’s passport, signed the cancellation of her visa and demanded for a replacement from the agency.
 
The agency also allegedly took Hadjiabie’s money, mobile phone and bag containing her personal belongings.
 
She was then taken to the shelter of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) on May 19 thanks to the efforts of her father in the Philippines who reported it to a public affairs show and the OWWA in Manila.  
 
Currently, Hadjiabie resides in the OWWA shelter waiting for her papers to be processed for repatriation.
 
According to her, the agency will only process the papers if their counterpart agency in the Philippines would send a worker replacement with the money to cover Hadjiabie’s airfare back to the Philippines.
 
In a phone interview with GMA News Online on Friday, Sara Reyes, Administrative staff of OWWA in Bahrain said that they are already in talks with Hadjiabie’s agency.
 
“The agency already promised a few days ago that they will give Irene’s passport together with the cancellation of her visa along with an airplane ticket,” she said.
 
Reyes also warned aspiring OFWs.
 
“Pag nandiyan palang sa Pilipinas ay maging matalino at mapagmatyag lalo na sa pagpirma sa kontrata para aware sila sa mga bagay gaya ng klima at kultura nang ibang bansa,” she said.
 
Meanwhile, Irene who is a devout Muslim said that she was being treated well in the OWWA shelter and requested a follow-up to her repatriation.
 
“Sana maayos na po at mapauwi na ako dahil malapit na po mag Ramadan at hindi na po ako nakakapagpadala sa pamilya ko lalo na po ngayon at pasukan na kawawa po ang mga anak ko,” she said. - VVP, GMA News
 
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