Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday promised to pursue the filing of charges against an Arab employer who poured boiling water on a Filipina household helper working in Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, Binay said he already instructed the Special Concerns Unit of the Office of the Vice President to coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh to monitor the case and take necessary actions against the Arab employer.
“No person deserves to be treated that way,” he said.
The case of Pahima Alagasi Palacasi, 23, of Malapaan, Pikit, Cotabato, went viral on social media over the weekend after her cousin posted pictures of her burnt body on social media network Facebook.
Palacasi said through Labor Attaché to Riyadh Rustico Dela Fuente that she was determined to pursue her case against her employer.
The employer was identified as Adil Akmad Badjuid.
Dela Fuente said the embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will assist Palacasi.
Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago, through the embassy’s Assistance to Nationals Section and POLO, immediately ordered suspension of Al Motkasess Recruitment Office.
It effectively stopped the said agency from recruiting more workers from the Philippines.
The agency’s partner in the country is A-M Philippine Professional Services Corporation.
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has instructed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the National Reintegration Center for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to coordinate with the POLO in looking into the case of Palacasi and to immediately assist her family.
Baldoz said Palacasi was not a member of the OWWA.
However, the labor chief clarified that Palacasi can still avail of livelihood assistance program under the Balik-Pinay, Balik-Hanapbuhay—one of the income augmentation components of the National Reintegration Program for OFWs that provides economic opportunities through skills training and livelihood starter kits—when and if she decides to come home.
According to reports, Palacasi arrived in her employer’s house in Riyadh in March of this year. During her first few weeks, she was homesick so she constantly cried.
Her first employer then took her back to the Saudi recruiter who transferred her to the employer’s mother because the employer’s wife did not want her back.
According to Palacasi, she had been working for the Arab family for only two months before she was maltreated, adding that she was not given her salary or provided with proper meals.
She recalled that the mother of her employer got angry with her after she immediately failed to bring her coffee. The old woman grabbed the thermos and poured boiling water to Palacasi.
The Filipina was taken to the hospital but went home the same day. She returned to the facility to have her wounds dressed.
On May 11, she escaped from the hospital and went to her cousin. After two days, her employer reported to the recruiter that she ran away.
On May 17, her cousin posted photos of her burnt body on Facebook.
Palacasi has two children ages 11 months and four years old back in the Philippines.