By Ed Corros
Everyone has to keep one’s job as they have to think of their children being sent to school. I remembered a Filipino in Taiwan who had to work overtime, even when he was too tired to do it regularly, because a sick parent needed money for his medicines. Then, his Filipino room mate was pressured to work without complaining for a house being paid monthly in Laguna while another OFW in that same factory in Taipei was to remit regularly for a car bought in installment. There are a thousand of reasons why the Filipinos have to forget their pride as they suffer similar abuses from their employers abroad. All these stories reminded me of my brother’s depresing situation. He sought again the assistance of the labor office attaché only to discover that the latter will side with his employer instead. When he realized that nothing will happen about his case, now that the Filipino government officer assigned to defend or his rights while working abroad has become useless, he decided to leave his work. He bought his own plane ticket and returned to Manila secretly.
“What my brother did was right,” I told myself. I was convinced too that many of our labor attachés were indeed not capable of delivering the services expected to them. Again, such treatment my brother received reminded me of the same stories and complaints of OFWs when I was still working in Taipei. My only edge when I was still in Taipei was my privilage to use the media and the pulpit to call the attention and to force our government officials to act into the cases of our OFWs. I do not enjoy such privilage anymore now that I am in my own country. In Taipei, I had the whole parishioners listening to my homily and it would always be a very privilaged occasion to call the attention of our government servants who were not doing their jobs well.
How my brother fled hids work from Dubai was well palnned. With the assistance of some friends in the dormitory he succeeded to trick the company guards. He was in his slippers and did not change his clothes when he left their dormitory compound. He requested a companion who was having a rest day to schedule the sending of a balikbayan box containing all his personal effects to the Philippines and he got a taxi to proceed to the airport. That time, he was already guarded by the company’s security officers as he refused to go back to work. Since he was in his slippers and house clothes, the security guards did not even have a clue that he was sneaking out from the compound. His departure was only discovered a day after his supervisor summoned him to return to work. I admired my brother’s talent of escaping from his abusive company. He was actually not different from many OFWs in Taepei who have sought refuge from abusive employers at St. Christopher’s Church when I was the parish priest. My brother also reminded me of my amazement of how our Filipino domestic workers escaped from their very strict employers.
Two days after he arrived in Manila, his agency … ... to be continued