OFWs Forced to Beg for Food on Qatar’s Streets

They were able to collect money, amounting to QR1,540, for buying their plane tickets. However, on Feb. 8, he was made to sign a waiver stating that he could not file complaints against the employer or agency. Furthermore, on the day of their flight which was supposed to be on Feb. 12, his passport was turned over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and they were slapped with criminal charges for running away and stealing a generator and money. This prevented them from going home.

Because of what happened, he approached members of the media for help. He asked Delfin Montenegro of The Filipino Channel (TFC) and GMA 7 to facilitate in seeking assistance from the Philippine Embassy. Montenegro immediately acted and informed the OWWA of the current situation of Ebreo and his colleagues.

In addition, Manny Flores of GMA7 interviewed Ebreo about their situation. This alarmed SML, and the agency acted on the problems of Ebreo and his colleagues and talked to Jassim Decoration and Services Co. Both agencies compromised and agreed that SML would need to pay the employer the equivalent of the amount of passport fees that Ebreo and his colleagues needed to reimburse, or P4,500 for each of them.

Ebreo, along with his colleagues, went to the Philippine Embassy barefooted to seek financial help but the embassy turned them down. Finally, he and his colleagues were able to go home on April 9 with assistance from the Filipino community in Qatar.

Mayroong 2500 na recruitment agencies iilan ito na nagsasamantala sa mga kababayan natin na minsan pa nasa malalayong lugar. Mag-aaply sa kanila, hinihingan sila ng mga pambayad, inuutang pa nila kung kaya naman rinerefund sa mga lending agencies tapos pagdating doon ganito pa yung mga problemang nangyayari sa kanila” (There are 2,500 recruitment agencies and some of these take advantage of our countrymen, some of whom come from remote areas. They apply and are charged fees which they borrow money from lending agencies for, money which they have to refund later on, and then when they get to their destination, they encounter problems such as these), said Gina Esguerra of Migrante International.

Plans

Ebreo left the country to provide a better life for his family but because of what happened to him in Qatar, he decided to try finding a job here in Manila. “Hindi na ako naghahangad ng malaking sweldo kasi nga ‘ kako no’ng nag-abroad ako, naghahangad ako ng mas malaking kita para naman ang pamilya ko ay makaramdam ng kaunting ginhawa. Pero iba ang nangyari kaya sabi ko, mas mabuti na lang na nandito ako” (I no longer yearn for a high salary. When I went abroad, it was because I was aspiring to earn more so that my family could experience a little comfort. But what happened was different, so I thought, it is better that I stay here), Ebreo shares.(Bulatlat.com)

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  1. I personnaly heard & witnessed same experienced from our kababayan here in middle east. They were fooled by some agencies in Philippines. Government should ack decisively and considered this acts as heinous crime punishable by life imprisonment in order to open the eyes of many manloloko.

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