PH gives assistance to Filipina worker maltreated in Saudi

MANILA The Philippine government will provide additional assistance to Pahima Alagasi, the Filipina worker who suffered serious burns in Saudi Arabia, after she was brought home from her four-year legal battle against her employer in Saudi Arabia.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) communications chief Elmer Cato said Alagasi was given PHP50,000 from the Assistance to Nationals fund of the agency, apart from an aid by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

The emotional Alagasi faced the media at the DFA press office on Friday, hours after she arrived from Saudi.

During the briefing, she thanked the Saudi Arabia and Philippine governments for bringing her home, as well as other individuals who helped her throughout her stay in the Gulf state.

ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III said Alagasi was only 22 years old and barely two months on the job when the mother of her employer scalded her back with boiling water after she dropped the lid of a thermos while preparing coffee.

She suffered severe burns on her neck, back and thighs, as she lurched in pain unattended for three hours before her employer allowed her to seek treatment.

Alagasi ran away while seeking treatment in a hospital and sought refuge in Bahay Kalinga, a shelter run by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

She filed a maltreatment complaint against her employer, which was eventually dismissed by a Saudi prosecutor.

In retaliation, the employer falsely accused Alagasi, filing trumped up charges against her which stalled the Filipina's repatriation for four years.

When Saudi Prince and Interior Minister Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif visited Manila and paid a courtesy call on MalacaAang on March 19, President Rodrigo R. Duterte raised Algasi's case and sought her repatriation.

The Saudi Prince then interceded and had the cases against Alagasi resolved at once.

Bertiz said it was Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Manila Dr. Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Bussairy who informed him that the two cases filed against Alagasi were finished and closed.

Philippine Ambassador Riyadh to Adnan Alonto, for his part, said Alagasi's story is just one of the thousands cases involving distressed Filipinos in Saudi Arabia.

"Each cases has its own unique facts," the Filipino envoy said.

As of 2017, at least 937,000 OFWs were recorded working in the Gulf state and of this figure, about 35,000 are distressed.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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