PH agency, Saudi recruiter suspended in OFW scalding case

By Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

Posted at May 22 2014 07:16 PM | Updated as of May 23 2014 08:18 PM

KUWAIT – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) suspended the agencies involved in the deployment of a Filipina household service worker to Saudi Arabia who was scalded after her employer poured boiling water on her body.

"We have preventively suspended the Saudi recruiter, the Filipino recruiter, and the direct employer in this case so there's an investigation," said POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac who is in Kuwait for the first senior officials meeting of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue.

Cacdac said they are also coordinating with their Saudi counterparts.

"I have been writing letters and receiving a couple of messages from the deputy minister ng Saudi side na assuring assistance in this regard, kasi nga di ba may bilateral agreement tayo doon? So one big advantage of having a bilateral agreement with the Saudi government is we know who to contact. We know who to reach out to," Cacdac said.

He added there have many instances where the Saudi government helped because of this direct contact with them.

"This case is no different in the sense that we have been also coordinating with the Saudi Ministry of Labor to help us out," he said.

The victim, Fatma, is now under the care of Bahay Kalinga in Riyadh. Fatma wants to pursue her case with the help of the embassy.

Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) assured that it will extend assistance to the 23-year-old Pikit, North Cotabato native.

"Meron tayong welfare officers na nandoon sa Riyadh at sila mismo gumagawa na ng hakbang para makatulong din doon sa ating household service worker na nasa Bahay Kalinga ngayon. Ang report nga sa amin, maganda naman, she’s in high spirits. Nakapag counseling na rin," said OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon.

The OWWA chief also said that they will help Fatma until her case is resolved and she's ready to return to the Philippines.

"Nakahanda na iyong programa ng OWWA para makapagsimula siya ng kanyang buhay at nang makalimutan din naman nya ang nangyari sa kanya," said Dimzon.