Thursday, June 14, 2012

Overseas Filipino worker loses job because baby can't finish bottle of milk

..Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) -

Charlotte Fabi of Cavite went to Hong Kong (HK) on Dec. 12, 2011, to be employed as a household service worker.

On Feb. 2, she was fired by her employer allegedly because the newborn baby she was caring for could not finish the milk she would prepare for her. Her principal agency in Hong Kong, Enjoy Service Centre, tried to mediate but the employer would not even talk to Charlotte.

Unable to get another job, Fabi came home on Feb. 11 and asked for help from Bantay OCW of Radyo Inquirer because she had to repay the money she borrowed for the placement fee.

Fabi would want a refund of about 80,000 pesos (US$1,900) for fees and other expenses.

With the assistance of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) will file with the National Labor Relations Commission a case against her local agency, SBEE International Incorporated, formerly Sangle Bernabe International Incorporated.

Fabi's HK employer appears guilty of abuse for terminating her employment over something she cannot control.

Undocumented worker

From April 1996, Tomas Botor Barandon worked as a general foreman in Doha, Qatar, to provide his family a better life. But in 2009, he was terminated by HBK Contracting Company.

The Qatar immigration office issued a hold-departure order against him because he supposedly owed a private bank the equivalent of P1.4 million. Since he could not come home, Barandon remained in Qatar as an undocumented worker. His work visa expired and his passport was confiscated.

Things got worse when Barandon suffered a heart attack on April 15 and had to be confined at the Hamad Cardiology.

His wife Josefina asked for assistance from Bantay OCW of Radyo Inquirer. Among other things, she could not understand how her husband incurred such a huge debt.

Under rules of the Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration, Barandon could not receive any medical insurance or compensation benefits because he was an undocumented worker. And, until the case involving the debt was settled, he could not leave Qatar.

A bit of good news was received recently from the couple's friend in Qatar. Barandon's health had improved. But Josefina is appealing for assistance from friends and families so she can go to Qatar to be with her husband.

Bantay OCW will help her get a visa to travel to Qatar.

Barandon's case shows that there is no shortcut to becoming an overseas Filipino worker. Aspiring migrant workers should always remember: Make sure you have all the required documents so you will be protected.