Five overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were jailed in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a complaint was lodged against a video they posted on social media.
According to Mariz Umali's report in "24 Oras," the OFWs uploaded a video on TikTok on March 12, 2023 just for fun among friends. They had no idea, however, that the would land them in jail.
“Ako po ay humihingi ng tulong sa ating embahada, napagkamalan po silang prostitute,” said a sibling of one of the arrested OFW.
(We are asking for help from the embassy, they were misconstrued as prostitutes.)
Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Toots Ople provided some details about the case.
“They have been arrested, they were brought to jail and may case number na at hihintayin na lang natin yung schedule ng court hearings sa Sharjah court. Meron na silang legal retainer na nakuha para irepresent itong karapatan nitong ating limang OFWs sa korte,” said Ople.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy and Labor Attache in the UAE are scheduled to speak with the employers of the five OFWs and arranging a visit.
Ople said the case had been referred to the prosecution and they are waiting for the schedule of the court hearing.
Based on the cybercrime law of the UAE, the five may be fined and imprisoned for five years.
“UAE is strictly implementing its cyberlaw and is also very sensitive to actions against their customs and morality. Iba ang kultura nila, so we have to be very, very respectful," said Ople.
“‘Yung sa pamilya wag kayo mag-alala babantayan din namin ang kaso and kokontakin namin kayo direcho para makakuha kayo ng updates,” Ople added.
(To the families of the OFW, do not worry. We will monitor the case and we will get in touch with you to give you updates.) -- Sherylin Untalan/BAP, GMA Integrated News