September 27, 2009 in columns
More unemployed skilled workers are forced to seek greener pasture abroad as indicated by the cases brought to the attention of the Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center (CWEARC) and the Metro Baguio chapter of Migrante.
Since May this year , the migrant desk of CWEARC documented 17 cases of overseas Filipino workers or an average of 4 clients a month from May to September. There were 8 cases from Benguet, 4 from Baguio, 1 from Quirino in Ilocos Sur and 4 from Mountain Province seeking help for cases ranging from illegal recruitment, contract substitution, maltreatment and rape.
The social cost of migration also manifested itself in the breaking-up of families and cases of children of OFW’s who fall into vices and go for early marriage. Children are usually left under the care of their fathers or grandparents. One mother called from Hong Kong to share about her daughter who got pregnant only to find out that the man whom she had relationship with was a married man. One of the rape victims, Mary (not her real name) went home to her family in Quirino province. Until now, she does not go out from their house because of the deep trauma caused by her experience.
One of the clients is a 22- year old male who went to Taiwan last July 14, 2009 through a recruitment agency called Jedegal International Manpower Service, Inc. (JIMSI) that is based in Manila. He was hired as factory worker in the CHL Auto Parts Co. LTD. His job as a factory worker is to lift heavy steel , molding and flat sheet for a whole day without any support equipment. He was obliged to do overtime everyday and work during his days- off. Overworked and without provision of safety and support gadgets, his lower back got strained from carrying heavy materials thus forcing him to be hospitalized for at least 2 days. He was left to handle his hospital bills. Still unfit to resume work, he was forced to go back to work to be able to pay his hospital bills. On the first week of August, the pains in his lower back worsened. He decided to go home as he was getting no support from the company nor from the broker to whom he complained about his situation. Instead of assisting him, his broker told him he was incapable to deliver the work expected of him. Therefore he was forced to sign a break contract and sought help for his air ticket to go home.
His mother brought the case to CWEARC. The latter coordinated the case with Migrante Taiwan. Migrante Taiwan was able to speak with the broker and the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco). Finally, his flight was arranged last August 21.
Upon arrival in Baguio, he went for a check up and the attending doctor diagnosed him of suffering from lumbar spasm due to his lifting of heavy weights. Until now he cannot stand properly and continues to undergo treatment at his personal expense. Meanwhile, the loan he made for his placement fee continues to earn interest.
Along with other OFW victims, his case was brought to the attention of the media. Refund for his placement fee, hospitalization, uniform, broker’s fee and his return ticket are still being negotiated with the Jedegal International Manpower Services, Inc. through the mediation process of the POEA. # nordis.net