Subsequently, he went to the personnel manager and inquired about the war damage claims due them. He was ignored, as the company told him that war claims could be given only in case a war erupts in Dubai. After his talk with the manager, he informed us about his sad predicament. When I got the chance to talk him, I advised him to try talking to our labor attaché. I was informed by my friend in OWWA that the labor attaché will be waiting for his visit. When he visited the Philippine Labor Office to consult about his claim, he was also informed that he could not get the claim that was due him. He was instead advised to complain about his contract that was violated, by being assigned in Iraq. His passport even has carried a note: “Not valid to travel in Iraq.” With such advice from the labor attaché in Dubai, my brother decided to file a complaint on contract violation.
Upon his arrival at his company’s office, he was scolded by his new Canadian supervisor, for seeking intervention from his American manager. He went directly to his manager accordingly about his earlier complaint. Annoyed by the scolding of his supervisor, he answered back and told his employer to fire him instead and to send him back to Manila if they were not happy of his service. The managemant did not agree. He described his argumentative bout with his employers as a very clear case of discrimination. He fought back precisely because he was unfairly treated when he was in Iraq. As a veteran OFW my brother knew quite well to handle himself. My coaching was not necessary. He was in Kuwait when that country was also invaded by Iraq and he stayed put. He was able to get his war damage compensation for working in the country. He believed that he had all the rights to ask for compensation, the fact that he and his companions were illegally transferred to work in war torn country. As he was fighting to his rights while talking to his American manager and Canadian supervisor. My brother felt bad that no one among his Filipino colleagues similarly working in that office helped him. He felt he had been bullied by his Canadian and American employers, and he did not get a single word of support from the Filipinos.
While he told me this incident, I was reminded of the many similar stories of Filipinos who had fought for their rights, but were unsuccessful because others in the group were not willing to support them. Looking back, I believed that the Filipinos in similar predicament could not do anything as they too needed to survive like what happened to my brother who was helpless when he was illegally deployed in Iraq last year.
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 in another employer abroad. All these OFWs 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 stories…...
… to be continued