Over 100 Filipino victims of human trafficking in Abu Dhabi return to the Philippines

UNTV News   •   November 2, 2017   •   8693

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_110117_Undocumented

“What happened to us there was really traumatic. For me, it’s not humane, it’s slavery. We were allowed to sleep for only two hours. We are also not allowed to urinate. Our food was limited. Whatever the food they left, that’s what we can only eat,” human trafficking victim, Joan Masa said.

This has been the bitter experience of Joan Masa as a house helper in Abu Dhabi for 9 months.

Masa was a victim of an illegal recruiter in Laguna.

The said illegal recruiter offered her huge salary and a good employer — But the opposite was what happened.

Joan is just among the more than 100 distressed overseas Filipino workers the Philippine Embassy gives assistance to so they could return to the Philippines.

The government also gave each of them P15,000 worth of livelihood so they could start their own business.

“Actually the Philippine government paid for their fare, they were also given fare. These OFW’s are victims of human trafficking,” DFA Migrant Workers Affairs Usec. Sarah Lou Arriola said.

“We try to make their lives comfortable, so when they arrive here, they can have something to start new lives,” she added.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are still a lot of undocumented Filipino workers in Abu Dhabi, but they are having difficulty determining their exact number because usually enter the Middle East using tourist visas.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) believes such a system can be avoided if the implementation of the Labor Cooperation Agreement of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the government of Abu Dhabi pushes through.

“Stated there is decent recruitment of the workers for UAE which means once the UAE Domestic Workers Law takes effect, like what Usec says, maybe in the first quarter of next year, all OFWs going to UAE will strictly undergo the process of the POEA strictly, there will no longer be visit and tourist visa deployment,” OWWA chief Hans Leo Cacdac said.

Based on the figures of the DFA, about 700 Filipino in Abu Dhabi were repatriated for illegal working there.

Philippine authorities continue to process the repatriation of other distressed OFWs in Abu Dhabi. – Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte OKs probe on PH envoy accused of mistreating staff

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to proceed with the investigation into a Philippine envoy’s alleged maltreatment of her service staff in Brazil, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Thursday.

“In light of the gravity of the allegations against the ambassador, the President has given the green light to proceed with the investigation of the official concerned, as recommended by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,” Go said in a statement.

The DFA earlier said it needed the approval of the president to conduct a probe against Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro who was caught on CCTV maltreating her unidentified Filipina household service staff on several occasions.

Section 51 of the Foreign Service Act states that “Chiefs of Mission who are commissioned by the President as ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary shall not be investigated by the Board [of Foreign Service Administration] or separated from the service unless there is an express written directive from the President.”

“The President has always been firm – the protection and promotion of the rights, welfare and well-being of Filipinos overseas is a paramount responsibility of our government,” Go said.

“Our ambassadors are duty-bound to carry out this mandate, no questions asked,” he added.

Go further stated that the “impartial investigation will be carried out consistent with relevant provisions of the law, particularly the Foreign Service Act of 1991.”

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said a team has been formed to investigate Mauro and the circumstances surrounding the issue.

Mauro has been ordered to return home to face the investigation.

She has yet to issue a statement regarding the allegations.

Senators seek probe on PH envoy to Brazil accused of mistreating service staff

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Some senators are seeking a thorough investigation into the alleged maltreatment of a Filipino household worker by Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Joel Villanueva both expressed outrage, calling the actions of the country’s envoy “deplorable” and “conduct unbecoming a diplomat official.”

Mauro was caught on CCTV maltreating her unidentified Filipina service staff on several occasions.

The video footage was shown on the Brazilian news channel GloboNews last Sunday and was picked up by international news organizations.

“While watching the video, I was horrified to see the brazenness of our ambassador to Brazil in physically maltreating the embassy service staff. I cannot imagine how people in her position could enact such violence to the very people they are sworn to protect,” Zubiri said in a statement.

“How can we demand foreign employers of our OFWs, especially domestic helpers, to respect their rights and not maltreat them, when the very people who are supposed to protect and defend them abroad are the ones abusing them? This is such a terrible incident and a black eye on our image abroad,” he added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has ordered Mauro to return to the Philippines and explain the matter.

Zubiri called on the DFA to immediately conduct an investigation and “prosecute the official if found violating labor laws and the Kasambahay Law.”

Villanueva also condemned the incident, stressing that the country’s embassies should be taking care of the welfare of Filipinos overseas.

“The incident should also serve notice to the diplomatic service that ‘as representatives of our country to a foreign land, one is expected to protect the well-being of our people starting with the ones at their own backyards,’” Villanueva added.

The senator also urged the DFA to examine existing grievance mechanisms in our posts to ensure that Filipinos have immediate recourse to the department’s head office in Maninla when incidents such as this happen to prevent its recurrence and escalation.

“This incident must give focus on what kind of grievance procedure our Embassies provide our OFWs. The DFA should recheck if there is an active system that actually works in providing protection to OFWs and any case of abuse and maltreatment does not go unchecked,” he said.

PH envoy to Brazil could face charges for staff abuse

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2020

Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. on Wednesday (October 28) vowed to address ‘to the fullest extent of the law’  the incidents of physical abuse by former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro against her household staff.

In a series of tweets, Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be “firm in meting out the appropriate sanctions and administrative or criminal charges” on the former envoy if results of the investigation on the matter would demand as such.

Locsin broke the news of Mauro’s recall from post on Monday (October 26).

The incident of physical abuse by Mauro against her staff was aired over Brazilian news outlet GloboNews with dates listed on the video footage as taken in March, August and October this year.

As the Philippine Ambassador to Brazil, Mauro also held concurrent jurisdiction over Colombia and Venezuela.

READ: PH envoy to Brazil recalled over alleged maltreatment of staff — DFA

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