Solons: Probe OFW’s death, recruitment

Kit Bagaipo

Two congressmen are now asking national government agencies to investigate the anomalous recruitment of two Boholana overseas workers deployed to the Middle East.

One of the OFWs, Eugenia Baja, died of a mysterious cause in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 24 and whose body was just recently repatriated

RAPE VICTIM. Coming home from Jordan where she was abused by her employers, 23-year old Meya Pojas (not her real name) accompanied by her mother (center) recounts her sad fate to Rep. Edgar Chatto (l) shortly after her arrival. Foto: DANNY REYES

and was buried in her hometown in Matin-ao, Sierra Bullones yesterday.

Another 23-year old Boholana OFW, Meya Pojas (not her real name) from Dagohoy town who worked as domestic helper arrived home last Monday after escaping her employers in Jordan who repeatedly raped her.

First district Rep. Edgar Chatto and Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela are separately asking the Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) to look into the death of Baja and the alleged illegal recruitment of the domestic helper from Dagohoy.

Both solons expressed concern on the welfare of other OFWs in the Middle East while calling for justice on the death of Baja.

“The unknown nature of her (Baja) death warrants an investigation. We are calling on the government to cooperate with the proper authorities to know the real cause of and thus give justice to her death,” Ilagan said.

According to Migrante International, an organization of OFWs and their families, Baja’s family was informed on March 3 that the OFW died of an illness in Riyadh. A second report from the DFA, however, stated that she committed suicide.

One month before her death, Baja’s family received a text message from her asking for help.

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The partylist representative also called on the POEA to investigate on the anomalous nature of Baja’s recruitment. She purportedly signed a contract with a US-based company to work as a patient server in Saudi Arabia but was employed as a domestic helper. Her family also mentioned that she complained about not being given her salary.

“Our OFWs are not given enough protection by the government despite their help in keeping our economy afloat,” Ilagan said. “It is alarming how many of our so-called heroes fell victim to illegal recruitment, illegal detention and exploitation in other countries.”


Domestic helper Meya came back home Monday. She is the third overseas worker to arrive in just five days and the only one of the three to return alive.

She voluntarily advised those who yet yearn to work abroad, particularly in Middle East, to be sure that they are not falling into the trap of unscrupulous illegal recruiters.

The maid in Jordan from Dagohoy had to change employers thrice in her just a little over five months of work there, hoping to find one who could be kind and humane. But fate was simply brutal to her.

When Meya arrived here Monday morning, she proceeded, together with her parents and a congressional staff, to the residence of Chatto to see and thank him for facilitating her rescue and return.

Her arrival followed the mournful return of deceased aircraft mechanic Franco Antonio Galo on Thursday and Baja on Friday, who both worked in Riyadh.

Meya narrated that on the night of her departure for Jordan last December 6, 2007, a man, whom she now realized could be in cahoots with unscrupulous BID personnel, escorted her at the NAIA and told an officer at the immigration counter to “just allow her (Meya) entry (to Jordan).”

Just before that, Meya was held at the immigration counter when a BID personnel found out her visa, which had Arabic entries she could not decipher, to be for tourist, not employment.


The ordeal of Meya began just a few weeks after she started working for her first male Arab employer in Amman, Jordan.

He would touch her private parts and during nighttime she could hardly sleep as her male boss and his wife would have violent fights.

She complained to her employment handler there called AKKA Trading Est and begged to find her another employer.

Her second employer, also an Arab couple, physically harmed the Boholana maid, who always got slapped and choked.

Her female employer would not give her food, so that the domestic helper would “steal” something to eat from the food closet whenever the wife was out.

Meya found a third employer—a couple who, this time, was kind to her—but whose 25-year-old son repeatedly raped her in the family’s five-storey house.

The Boholana maid, who stayed on the third floor, could not get out of the building since its main door on the ground floor would be locked after members of the family got out. The windows of the building are blocked with steel bars.

Especially when the Arab couple were out, their son would force Meya to the rooftop where she was raped several times.

The OFW managed to contact her mother whom she confided her suffering, prodding the latter to seek assistance from Chatto thru his office here.

Chatto’s office alarmed and linked with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, POEA, the DFA and the Philippine Embassy in Jordan on Meya’s plight. (With reports from Ven Arigo)(BoholChronicle)

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