By Kit Bagaipo
Two congressmen are now asking national government agencies to investigate the anomalous recruitment of two Boholana overseas workers deployed to the Middle East.
One of the OFWs, Eugenia Baja, died of a mysterious cause in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on February 24 and whose body was just recently repatriated and was buried in her hometown in Matin-ao, Sierra Bullones yesterday.
Another 23-year old Boholana OFW, Meya Pojas (not her real name) from Dagohoy town who worked as domestic helper arrived home last Monday after escaping her employers in Jordan who repeatedly raped her.
First district Rep. Edgar Chatto and Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela are separately asking the Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) to look into the death of Baja and the alleged illegal recruitment of the domestic helper from Dagohoy.
Both solons expressed concern on the welfare of other OFWs in the Middle East while calling for justice on the death of Baja.
"The unknown nature of her (Baja) death warrants an investigation. We are calling on the government to cooperate with the proper authorities to know the real cause of and thus give justice to her death," Ilagan said.
According to Migrante International, an organization of OFWs and their families, Baja's family was informed on March 3 that the OFW died of an illness in Riyadh. A second report from the DFA, however, stated that she committed suicide.
One month before her death, Baja's family received a text message from her asking for help.
The partylist representative also called on the POEA to investigate on the anomalous nature of Baja's recruitment. She purportedly signed a contract with a US-based company to work as a patient server in Saudi Arabia but was employed as a domestic helper. Her family also mentioned that she complained about not being given her salary.
"Our OFWs are not given enough protection by the government despite their help in keeping our economy afloat," Ilagan said. "It is alarming how many of our so-called heroes fell victim to illegal recruitment, illegal detention and exploitation in other countries." (with reports from Ven Arigo)