By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — For Margie, the wife of 23 year old Marvin Payangdo who is one of the 40 stranded Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) at the Philippine embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it would be better for her husband to come home and face the hard life here with her and their two daughters than to work abroad.
Payangdo was among the OFWs who staged a sit-in protest inside the grounds of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) dispersed by Riyadh police on July 2.
According to Marvin’s mother, Angeline, her son went to Riyadh on October 2012. She said Marvin was recruited by Marie Human Resources with an office in Malate, Metro Manila to work for a Saudi Arabian company based in Dammam. She added that her son signed a contract with the agency indicating that his job will be in charge of electrical installation.
Angeline said her son graduated as an electrical engineer at Saint Louis University (SLU), Baguio City on 2011. On September of the same year, Marvin passed the national electrical engineering licensure examinations.
Margie said she and her husband were full of hope that a brighter future awaits them and their two children. According to the contract signed by Marvin with Marie Human Resources, he will receive a salary of 2, 200 Saudi Riyals or equivalent to over P25,000. She said, her husband managed to send her P7,000 monthly, until last May.
Angeline said that her son contacted them and told them about his situation in Dammam. According to her, Marvin told them that his employer forced him to work as a welder a violation to the contract he signed. And because he lacked welding skills as he was not trained for such, he was verbally abused as well as beaten by his boss whenever he committed mistakes.
On June 3, Marvin’s mother continued, her son went to POLO in Riyadh to report his case and seek help. He was advised then by the labor office to go back to work as they will look into his case. When he returned to his employer at Dammam, he was again beaten and his life was even threatened. He was not even given food.
Angeline meanwhile went to the office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to ask for assistance. She said she was told that the agency will coordinate with the agency in charge in Saudi.
Fearing for his life, Marvin escaped on June 13 and sought refuge at POLO. Days after while waiting for any action from the labor office, Marvin joined other 40 stranded OFWs in a sit-in protest to air their grievances on the slow actions of the Philippine labor office on their cases. The demonstration was dispersed by Saudi police arresting the protesters including Marvin.
According to Angeline, her son with the other Filipinos who were arrested were beaten and were even subjected to electrocution.
On Saturday July 6, Margie said that Marvin called and said that they are now back to the POLO grounds waiting for their repatriation on July 15. She said she hopes that the government will truly help her husband and the other Filipinos and send them back home to be with their families.
“Nu manen saan a matungpal ti imbaga ti gobyerno a pangipaawidan da kada Marvin ken dagidiay dadduma ket karkaro a maburibor manen ti panunot da ken pati pamilya da ditoy Pilipinas, mapaawid da kuman amin,” (If the government will not keep its promise to send them back home, they will become more restless and also their families here, they should all be sent home) said Marvin’s mother.
According to Innabuyog Gabriela Secretary General Veron Malecdan, Marvin is a victim of contract substitution, a form of contract violation. She said that many OFWs while signing contracts indicating attractive jobs and monetary benefits here at home are unaware of their sad fate later as they will be forced to accept menial jobs with lower pay once deployed. She added that most OFWs will just accept this fate because they need to earn and pay for their debts as most of them borrowed money to process their application papers and other documents prior to working abroad.
She said Marvin aside from suffering from the physical pain and verbal abuses, also suffered from low self-esteem as he was being treated as a lower form of human being by his employer. # nordis.net