Five Filipina mothers who suffered abuse and maltreatment while working abroad were repatriated to the Philippines and were given livelihood assistance.

Senator Cynthia Villar, who coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for their immediate repatriation, met the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Senate and provided each of them with a sari-sari store start up package and financial assistance.

“We hope to be able to help them start anew and rebuild their lives.” 

“Stories about our kababayans suffering maltreatment and abuse in the hands of their employers always break our hearts. While we continue to push for a more favorable working environment for them in foreign lands, we also hope to be able to help them start anew and rebuild their lives through assistance that will help them start a small business,” Villar said.

The veteran legislator, who is also director of the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG), said she will continue to support adequate funding to finance government’s repatriation and assistance programs for distressed overseas Filipino workers.

“It is very important that our kababayan abroad will have a place to run to and a system to rely on.”

“It is very important that our kababayan abroad will have a place to run to and a system to rely on kapag nagkakaproblema sila. Dapat maramdaman pa rin nila na may gobyerno na tutulong sa kanila kahit nasa ibang bansa sila,” the veteran lawmaker added.

Among the repatriated OFWs and recipients of livelihood assistance from the lady senator is a 46-year-old single mother with two children. A native of Balanga, Bataan, she worked as a household service worker in Al Qurayyat, Saudi Arabia where she was raped by the eldest son of her employer.

She was repatriated on June 28, 2019 and on July 8, 2019, has filed a case against her employer and local agency with the help of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Another repatriated OFW is a 29-year-old single mother with two children and a native of Bauang, La Union. While working as a household service worker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, her employers tied her to a tree as punishment for leaving a piece of furniture outside the house.

She was able to get the help of DFA when her pictures, which was taken by another OFW, were shared online. She was repatriated in May 2019.

Also repatriated was a 41-year-old mother of three children who hails from Las Piñas City. While working as a household service worker in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, her male employer sexually abused her. She was able to get help through Facebook and was repatriated on July 17, 2019.

Until this time she suffers from trauma and has been referred to undergo reintegration services and the matter of filing a case against her employer is being considered.

Another rescued OFW is a 24-year-old native of General Trias, Cavite. As an entertainer in Malaysia, she was coerced by her handler to go out with male patrons. She narrated that she endured the treatment of sex-starved and sadist customers.

Her situation later took a turn of the worse after she became pregnant. She was ordered by her handler to abort the babyby using abortifacients, but the abortion failed. She gave birth to a premature baby, who eventually died not long after birth. She was repatriated on July 19, 2019.

Also repatriated was a 40-year-old mother with two children who worked as a household service worker in Hong Kong. Her employer gave her a lot of duties, including cleaning the cars and the swimming pool. One day, she was asked to clean the family car, but was not able to clean the inside of it because her employer failed to give her the car keys.

This prompted her employers to get angry and terminated her. Her employer even called the police and complained about her work. On the night of March 15, 2019, she was told to immediately leave the house. Her employers did not let her take her things and endured sleeping outside until morning before seeking the help of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office. She was repatriated on April 1, 2019.

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