By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – A Filipina domestic helper stranded in Saudi Arabia is asking the government to have her repatriated so she can undergo hemorrhoid surgery.
“I just want to go home. I do not want to be redeployed to another employer because I am afraid of suffering a grave fate,” Nora Prequencia, 28, told Bulatlat in Filipino via a Zoom interview.
Prequencia is one of the 70 Filipino migrant workers staying at the government’s shelter in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Most of them have run away from their abusive employers and were left on their own by their respective agencies.
Since April, Prequencia has only been able to defecate about four times, as she has tried to avoid it due to extreme pain.
Prequencia was four months into her contract as a domestic helper when she learned of her hemorrhoids. Doctors advised her to undergo surgery but she wanted to have the operation done in the Philippines, earning the ire of her employer. They then cut off her internet access, keeping her from contacting her family.
Three months later, her employer sent her to a different agency. She was deployed to another employer where she suffered from sexual harassment.
“I was very scared,” she said.
Back home, Prequencia’s four children have been waiting for their mother. Before going to Saudi Arabia, she and her family foraged the mountains of Malitbog, Bukidnon for their daily sustenance. Working abroad was the only means Prequencia knew to uplift their living conditions.
She skipped meals and walked miles while she processed her application and requirements. She hoped that her work, where she stood to earn 1,500 Riyals ($400) monthly, could alleviate the family’s poverty.