POLO reaches out to abused OFW in HK

Posted at 05/17/14 10:41 AM

MANILA – The Filipina household service worker who suffered months of abuse from her employers in Hong Kong has been offered assistance by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

OFW Rowena Uychiat met with Welfare Officer Kris Furaque, Vice Consul Charles Andrei Macaspac and Assistance-to-Nationals officer Hermogenes Cayabyab last week at the office of the Mission for Migrant Workers Ltd. (MFMW) where she is presently staying.

Furaque explained to Uychiat that she can avail of the Balik Pinay-Balik Hanapbuhay livelihood assistance of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) after she returns home. She also informed her that her 19-year-old daughter can avail of the OWWA’s Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP), while her 13-year-old son will be included on the list of Tuloy Aral Program beneficiaries.

The team from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) met with the OFW to get more information about her plight.

Uychiat worked for Yiu Anna Hoi Yin since July 23, 2013 without any rest day and statutory holidays. Her passport, Hong Kong ID, and employment contract were also seized by her employer.

"I was made to work for long hours which resulted to my taking my meals late, and I was made to sleep in the kitchen," she said.

Uychiat alleged that her employer physically assaulted her for three months after she started working for her. "I would be hit, slapped, and my hair would be pulled even for simple mistakes," she said.

Her chance to escape came on April 25 when her employer and her family went to Macau. Uychiat went to the Sham Shui Po Police Station, accompanied by a distant relative, Liezl Mateo, another OFW. The police arranged for her to see a doctor at the Caritas Medical Center. It was Mateo who brought her to the MFMW.

On May 1, Uychiat was able to take back her passport and employment contract from Gracious Employment Agency Ltd., the foreign recruitment agency (FRA) that deployed her to her Hong Kong employer, against which she filed a case on 27 April.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz assured Uychiat's family that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, in coordination with the POLO, will assist the OFW in the filing of a complaint against NAR Training and Management Service, the Philippine overseas placement agency which made her to pay P45,000 in placement fee, as well as against Nittan Capital Finance Incorporated with which Uychiat contracted a P50,000 loan to pay for the placement fee.

Baldoz also directed the POEA to file a case against a certain Ms. Joy of NAR Training and Management Service who deducted P5,000 from the loan proceeds allegedly as processing fee.