President Duterte assures gov’t taking steps to end abuse on OFWs

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Roa Durerte on Saturday, April 14, assured that the government is taking steps to end the abuse on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East countries.

President Duterte met with an OFW who was abused by her employer in Saudi Arabia.

Pahima Alagasi, who was scaled 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, President Duterte said the government is willing to do everything to help the Filipinos in the Middle East.

President Duterte added that he could not blame the OFWs if they had to work abroad for their families.

However, the Chief Executive 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 said region is of “great importance” to the nation.

He also urged the Filipino Muslims who are in the Islamic states to help in protecting the human dignity of their fellow countrymen.

President Duterte underscored that it is the interest of the Philippines to uphold the welfare and well-being of Filipino workers.

For Alagassi’s part, she expressed her gratitude to the Philippine government, particularly President 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 with the case.

Alagassi said that 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.

Meanwhile, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) gave Alagassi’s two children scholarships up to college. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also provided P50,000 in cash assistance.

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