Many Filipinos search for better career opportunities abroad to help their family, but some are not so lucky.
This is why Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian set up a help desk in November last year to help abused and distressed overseas Filipino workers or OFWs.
One of Gatchalian’s beneficiaries is Rochelle Calixto, who departed for Kuwait in July last year to work as a domestic helper.
The 34-year-old mother said she worked as a domestic helper in Kuwait in hopes of getting bigger salary to provide a better life to her children.
For almost half a year, Calixto said her employer has been maltreating her, which forced her to work beyond the prescribed hours of labor.
Calixto said her employer also did not feed her properly, and eventually refusing to pay appropriate salary compensation.
Abuses escalated when Calixto was accused of having an intimate relationship with her employer by the employer’s wife.
“Pinabugbog niya ako sa kapatid niyang lalaki. Isang linggo nila akong kinulong sa kwarto ng wala kahit na ano,” Calixto said.
“Literal na kumain ako ng bugbog mula sa kanila, pinipilit nila akong umamin. Bakit ko aaminin ang kasalanang hindi ko naman ginawa?” she said.
Upon learning the situation of her wife, Calixto’s husband asked for help from Gatchalian’s office late December last year.
In less than a month, Gatchalian’s office was able to arrange Calixto’s repatriation documents in coordination with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or OWWA.
It usually takes 30 days for OWWA to complete the process of repatriation documents for OFWs who are being abused abroad.
On January 14, Calixto was able to comeback in the Philippines.
“Napakalaking tulong ni Cong. Win Gatchalian. Kung hindi dahil sa kanya baka patay na ako ngayon. Maraming-maraming salamat sa kanya at sa mga staff niya na buong-pusong tumulong sa amin,” Calixto said.
Asked if she still has plans to work abroad, Calixto replied that she will just set up an eatery business with her family.
“Mas gugustuhin ko na nandito ako sa Pilipinas kasama ang pamilya ko kaysa kumita ng malaki na hindi naman sigurado ang buhay ko,” she said.
As of now, Gatchalian’s office already helped in the repatriation of 16 abused OFWs like Calixto under his “Win Tayo sa Lingkod OFW Program”.
Aside from rescuing abused OFWs, Gatchalian’s office also collaborates with Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or POEA to assist OFWs who do not receive fair compensation from their employers abroad.
If you want to help an abused OFW, you can reach our office at 332 MacArthur Highway, Malinta, Valenzuela City or contact us at 352-0549 and look for Ms. Analiza Allen. (Camille Nepomuceno)