5 OFWs file complaints against Welfare Officer in Jordan

A group of women who were recently repatriated from Jordan sought the help of Tatak RMN’s Bantay OFW, a daily morning public service radio show hosted by former Labor Usec Susan “Toots” Ople and senator-to-be Koko Pimentel. They alleged that despite the hardships that they have gone through in Jordan, the welfare officer there failed to show the kind of compassion and behavior expected of her.

Yesterday, through the Blas F. Ople Center and with the help of Atty. Charles Parsia and other lawyers of Senator Manny Villar, five of these women filed individual sworn affidavits against Welfare Officer Carmelita Mag-uyon. The formal complaints were received by Atty. Lyn Perez at the 4th floor of the OWWA Building. Today the same set of affidavits will be received by the Office of the Labor Secretary at the Department of Labor and Employment.

Here are some excerpts from the distressed workers’ affidavits:

From G. Quibedo: “That sometime during the last week of April 2011, in my presence, Welfare Officer Ms. Carmelita Mag-uyon, negotiated with a certain Mr. Ihab, an owner of a recruitment agency, for the latter to shoulder half of my plane fare with Ms. Mag-uyon stating the following terms: “Please help this girl (referring to Ms. Quibedo), and I will give you more girls who is (sic) willing to go back work (sic)”;

From J. Mortel: “While at the center, I sought the aid of Welfare Officer Carmelita Mag-uyon in order for me to return to the Philippines, she instead told me that I cannot go home unless I pay three thousand dollars to my employer representing the cost advanced by my agency from my employer; She further told me that since I ran away from my employer, I cannot return home unless my police records are cleared, to do this, she brought me to the immigration office and left me there; Thereafter I was brought by the immigration officers to the police station where I was confronted by my employer; because I refused to continue to work for my employer the police physically abused me and dragged me to my employer’s vehicle.”

From N. Guilamilil (has a medical condition): “On June 7, 2011, I went to the Philippine Embassy to inform them of my situation, and its employee brought me to POLO Office in Ammam, Jordan, and thereat, I told Ms. Judith Lauz of my situation, and she brought me to the basement because my illness was contagious. I requested Ms. Mag-uyon to undergo another medical examination, instead she shouted at me, “paano ka nga magpa-medical, wala ka ngang passport…”; That before my return to the Philippines on July 26, 2011, I approached Welfare Officer Mag-uyon several times and every time I sought her, she shouted at me, “Ikaw, hindi ka makapaghintay, yung iba nga matagal na dito, ikaw 3 months pa lang”; and …”hindi puwede” when I requested for another medical examination;

From L. Wadia: “During the interview I was given by Welfare Officer Mag-uyon the option to stay in Jordan or to go home to the Philippines. I opted to go home but she countered that I cannot go home unless I have five hundred dollars to pay for my plane fare; Since I cannot pay her the amount, she repeatedly asked me on several occasions whether I already had the money for my fare; but since I do not have any money she was left with no other option but to allow me to leave because the ticket was already paid for by the Department of Foreign Affairs for the repatriation of OFWs;

From R. Aragon: “On June 4, 2011, because of the maltreatment and physical abuse that I have experienced in the hands of my employer I sought refuge at the Filipino Workers’ Resource Center (FWRC) at the Philippine Embassy in Ammam, Jordan; While at the Center, I sought the aid of Welfare Officer Carmelita Mag-uyon who refused to render any assistance but instead told me to return to my employer as she feels that that is what is best under the circumstances; Despite my protestations due to the trauma of the physical injury that I sustained from my employer, Welfare Officer Mag-uyon tried to facilitate my return to my employer to the point of acting as a go-between for my agency and family in order to make me change my mind in my decision to no longer return to my employer; Sometime in June 2011, Welfare Officer Mag-uyon asked me if I have five thousand dollars to pay my employer for the cost of my deployment because I can only go home once I paid said amount.”

On Monday, the Ople Center expects two more OFWs to travel all the way from Nueva Ecija to Manila in order to execute their own sworn affidavits against Welfare Officer Mag-uyon. According to Atty. Lyn Perez of the OWWA Administrator’s Office, these affidavits shall be officially transmitted to Welfare Officer Mag-uyon so that she can also reply to said charges. OWWA has its own complaints committee that would look into both sides of the story after which a recommendation shall be forwarded to OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon for her consideration.

Meanwhile, the Blas F. Ople Center and Tatak RMN’s Bantay OFW as well as the Office of Senator Manny Villar will be carefully monitoring these cases. Hopefully, other aggrieved OFWs from Jordan will find the strength and courage to come out and share their own experiences – good or bad – in relation to services rendered by Welfare Officer Carmelita Mag-uyon. This blog is also open to Ms Mag-uyon’s response, in the spirit of fair play.

For those who wish to share their own experiences about their stay at Bahay Kalinga in Jordan, please write to us via blasoplecenter@hotmail.com or call our hotline: 8335337 and look for Jeffrey or Jenny. To the staff of Sagip OFW and the lawyers of Senator Manny Villar, maraming salamat sa pag-gabay sa ating OFWs; special thanks of course to Larry King and our executive producer Leo Navarro of DZXL’s Bantay OFW.

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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