DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte Saturday assured that the government is taking steps to end the abuse on overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East countries.
Duterte met with an OFW, who was abused by her employer in Saudi Arabia.
Pahima Alagasi, who was scalded by the mother of her employer with boiling water four years ago, returned home Friday.
She had stayed in a shelter run by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
During their meeting at Coco’s South Bistro Restaurant here, Duterte said the government is willing to do everything to help the Filipinos in the Middle East.
He added that he could not blame the OFWs if they had to work abroad for their families.
However, Duterte said he already reminded the workers to be careful since the culture and laws in a foreign country are different from that of the Philippines.
The President also said that it was essential to maintain more than just good relations with countries in the Middle East as the region is of “great importance” to the nation.
He urged Filipino Muslims who are in the Islamic states to help in protecting the human dignity of their fellow countrymen.
Duterte underscored that it is in the interest of the Philippines to uphold the welfare and well-being of Filipino workers.
Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said the government will continue to help distressed OFWs, including 35,000 in Saudi Arabia where at least 937,000 OFWs are reportedly working, as of 2017.
“We will continue to help our OFW countrymen, in any way we can assist them, be it a legal matter or be it labor and employer-related,” Go said.
“Like we have always been saying, the gates of Malacañang are always open and the ears of government officials will always listen to whatever problems our fellow Filipinos are experiencing,” he added.
Alagasi expressed her gratitude to the Philippine government, particularly Duterte, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Acts OFW Partylist Rep. Aniceto Bertiz, Ambassador to Riyadh Adnan Alonto, and personnel of the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, and other officials who assisted her.
She said she was also thankful to then Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who had approved her final exit from the Kingdom after a protracted four-year legal battle with her employer.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration gave Alagasi’s two children scholarships up to college. The Department of Foreign Affairs also provided P50,000 in cash assistance.*PNA
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