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Pinoy Abroad

Solon eyes parliamentary visit to Saudi Arabia amid new OFW abuse case

The case of Agnes Mancilla, the OFW forced to drink bleach by her employer in Saudi Arabia, highlights the need for an on-ground assessment of the plight of Filipino workers in the Middle East, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

In a statement, Gabriela Women's Party Representative Emmi de Jesus said the case of Mancilla, who remains confined in a hospital due to complications brought about by the bleach she ingested, adds up to the list of domestic abuses against OFWs in Saudi Arabia.

"This glaring case of abuse against Mancilla bolsters the House resolution to conduct a parliamentary visit and assessment of government assistance to OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia as contained in House Resolution 625 which Gabriela filed," she said.

"Dapat nang mahinto ang ganitong di-makataong pagtrato sa ating mga kababayan sa ibang bansa."

Aside from this incident, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Mancilla also suffered physical abuse regularly since she started working for her employer in 2016

De Jesus is intending to use her visit to Dubai this June to talk to migrant workers in the Middle East and report on legislative efforts to address their issues.

"Such incident also exposes the nature of labor cooperation agreement between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is primarily concerned with labor deployment over the rights and welfare of OFWs," she said.

Instead of relying on labor export and deployment, the women's party-list reiterated the need to create decent local jobs to ease the worsening employment crisis in the country.

"Up to now, the Duterte regime has to live up to its vision of keeping Filipinos at home instead of sending them abroad for better opportunities," De Jesus said.

"So far, we've seen an intensified drive to peddle Filipino workers to host countries without little or no regard to labor rights." —Erwin Colcol/KBK, GMA News