All a 41-year-old former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) wanted was to earn enough income to support the needs of her 11-year-old sickly daughter. She, however, failed to realize that going abroad would instead make her life miserable.
It began in May 2015 when Venus Nuyda started planning on working in Saudi Arabia.
“May nagsabi po sa akin na bakit hindi ko i-try na mag-abroad mas maganda daw po ang kita dun,” Venus said.
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“Iniisip ko po ang pangangailangan ng anak ko na may sakit kaya nagdesisyon ako na sumugal na magtrabaho sa ibang bansa,” she added.
Venus used to work in the monitoring of the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) of Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) in Camarines Sur.
Earning a meager sum P6,000 every month, she knew that such amount could not cater to the needs of her three children.
Since her husband left them 10 years ago, she has to shoulder their entire family’s expenses, including the maintenance medicine of her youngest daughter who has a blue baby syndrome.
Baby blue syndrome is caused by a heart defect which is more known as “a hole in the heart”. It results in lack of oxygen delivery to the infant, and is curable by means of a continuous medication and costly surgical procedures.
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After setting foot on Saudi Arabia, Venus was filled with determination to work and lift her family out of poverty. However, that same drive was met with cruelty and abused from her employers.
“Akala ko po kasi ito na iyong makakatulong sa amin pero nagkamali ako,” she lamented.
Venus woke up at 8 a.m. every day, but would have the first meal of the day at 5 p.m. She was also abused and given several tasks to work for the friends of her employers.
Due to the sweltering heat in the Middle East, she also suffered from bleeding and was hospitalized because of it.
“Pinaospital po nila ako pero lahat po ng ginastos dun, kinaltas po nila sa sweldo ko. Kahit po yung gamot ko na ako naman ang bumili, kinaltas pa rin nila sa suswelduhin ko,” Venus tearfully recalled.
That was when she sought help from her siblings. Luckily, two of them are residing in Valenzuela City.
“Sabi nila sa akin ilalapit nila ang kaso ko kay Congressman Gatchalian. Ang bilis nga po ng pag-aasikaso nila sa akin after 5 days lang po nakabalik na ako,” she said.
Under his OFW Assistance program, Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian provides assistance to Filipino workers abroad who are maltreated or are victims of human trafficking.
It has been one of his advocacies since he elected as mayor of Valenzuela City from 2004 to 2013.
Due to Gatchalian’s help, Venus returned to the Philippines on Aug. 23 after several months of hardship.
“Napakalaki ng pasasalamat ko kay Cong. Win, kung hindi sa tulong niya, hindi ko alam kung ano na ang maaaring nangyari sa akin,” Venus rejoiced.
“Wala na po akong planong mag-abroad, kung ano man ang makuha kong trabaho dito, iyon na lamang ang pagtitiyagaan naming mag-iina. Salamat Cong. Win at nakabalik pa rin ako sa Pilipinas,” she said.
As of August 27, Gatchalian’s office already helped in the repatriation of 27 OFWs.
If know any abused or maltreated OFWs, you may contact our office at 291-6895 and find Ms. Analiza Allen for our OFW Assistance Program. (Camille Nepomuceno)