Last Updated on 2 years by DiaryNiGracia
What Happens behind the scenes when domestic helpers flee from their employers?
So, what really takes on behind the scenes when a housemaid flees her employer and seeks help from the embassy? A conversation was shared between Ben Garcia of Kuwait Times and Angelita Narvaez, who is the supervisor of the shelter as well as the assistant labor attaché for the embassy has shared her insights regarding the following matters:
When asked what kind of assistance may she anticipate from the embassy if she has escaped her job as a home service worker (HSW) and is seeking it and in what manner are the steps carried out?
“In the embassy handbook, we have standard operating procedures that outline the fundamental policies and processes that must be followed. If you leave your employment and make your way to the embassy less than two days after leaving, you will be deemed a runaway.
If you come back after about a week, we will assume that the worker is having some kind of problem, and we will investigate ways in which we may be able to assist you. We request that they swear to the accuracy of their account of how they came to be at the embassy by signing an affidavit.” Narvaez stated.
Narvaez continued by saying “Those individuals who have resided somewhere besides their real employers for an extended length of time are not permitted to use the shelter under any circumstances; nonetheless, we will continue to assist them in battling for their legal entitlements.
What can the embassy offer?
While we do not have a facility to house runaways for extended periods of time, we do provide all support that may be required on an individual basis. If there are strong reasons to welcome such employees at the shelter, then we do so since this is precisely why we are here – we are obligated to safeguard Filipino workers. If there are compelling reasons to accept such workers at the shelter, then we do so.”
Concerns regarding whether there are incidents of runaway housemaids at the shelter that took months or even years to resolve, as well as if the shelter offers any activities to keep them productive, the answer was yes to both questions.
“At the shelter we have many volunteers who share their skills with runaway housemaids like handicraft making, baking, cooking, hairstyling, nail art, etc. We have these programs here at the embassy. Although they are not regular, we have at least one program in a month. We also have spiritual activities – for Catholics we have Mass, for Evangelicals we have Bible study, and various other services for their spiritual needs.
While they are awaiting repatriation, we enroll them in the ‘assist well’ program of the OWWA/POEA. When they are in Manila, they can avail various training programs and even financial loans for them to start businesses for reintegration into the society.” Narvaez stated.
OWWA’s contacts details are as follows:
For OWWA hotline just dial: 1348
Regional: (02) 1348
Visit their Official Facebook page: OWWAofficial
For Messenger: owwa.cares
Link to their page: www.owaa.gov.ph
Email: [email protected]
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