DOLE vows help for abused OFW in HK

Posted at 05/10/14 11:19 AM

OFW Rowena Uychiat

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has ordered its attached agencies--the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)--to look into the case of an overseas Filipino worker who was allegedly tortured and abused by her employer in Hong Kong.

"Look into the nature of this case and work with each other and with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Hong Kong. I want to know what happened. Look how we can assist OFW Uychiat and her family," said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

The OFW, 37-year-old Rowena Uychiat, came to Hong Kong to work as domestic worker in July 2013. The widow and a mother of two said she had been denied rest day for the past 9 months and was repeatedly physically assaulted.

"I was shouted at, called stupid and abused verbally; and my documents were confiscated from me. I paid 50,000 Philippine pesos (HK$9,100) to my recruitment agency before I left the Philippines. I was supposed to pay the balance during my employment but unable to because I am not given the chance to leave my employer's place on my own," she said during a press conference of the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) held on Thursday in Hong Kong.

Uychiat was rescued by the MFMW late April this year when her employers left. She remains under the care of MFMW.

Labor Attache Manuel Roldan reported to Baldoz that POLO has blacklisted Uychiat's employer, Yui Anna Hoi Yin, for abusing the OFW.

"This means Yui Anna Hoi Yin cannot hire another worker unless police investigation shows otherwise. The POLO will not process any contract document which the employer will present as a pre-requisite to visa issuance," Roldan said.

According to Roldan, POLO has watch-listed a total of 3,545 employers, 320 of them in 2013 and 27 in the first two months of 2014.

POEA records disclosed that Uychiat was first deployed for a two-year contract on 7 July 2009 to Kuwait as a household service worker by Mirben International Manpower Services with a US$400 monthly salary. She had returned and was re-deployed to Hong Kong on 22 July 2013.

An active member of the OWWA, Uychiat would be entitled to livelihood and loan assistance should she decide to come back to the Philippines. She is also entitled to scholarship grants for her children. Should she need medical assistance, she will receive all PhilHealth benefits.

Administrator Dimzon said that with regards the need for legal assistance, Uychiat can avail of it--from the POLO on the labor aspect and from the Philippine Consulate on the non-labor aspect. She said she will coordinate with the POLO in Hong Kong so that Uychiat can be extended this assistance.