Monday, November 24, 2008

November 22, 2008

OFW who lost her sanity repatriated from Jeddah
11/22/2008 01:07 PM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - A Filipino domestic helper who left her family in Mindoro to work in Saudi Arabia only last August was sent home earlier this week after exhibiting signs of insanity, Philippine officials in Jeddah said.

Arlene (not her real name), 33, an OFW from Oriental Mindoro, arrived in Jeddah on August 3 to work as a domestic helper for the family of a Saudi pilot.Welfare Officer Romualdo Exmundo of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Jeddah said that Arlene's employer took the maid to the Philippine Consulate on Oct. 15 to seek help, saying she started acting strangely after only a month at work.

Nagmakaawa ang (asawa ng) employer na iwan muna sa OWWA si Arlene dahil hindi nanga raw nila kaya lalo pa't laging nasa labas ang employer niya na isang piloto (Her employer’s wife pleaded that Arlene stays at the OWWA shelter because they cannot take care of her anymore, especially since pilot employer is always not at home)," said Exmundo.

The welfare officer said that Arlene was always meek and quiet even when she was at the shelter. Exmundo said they were surprised when the woman she escaped from the consulate early this month.

"Buti na lang at nahuli sya nang mga pulis at ibinalik sa konsulado si Arlene kaya ang ginawa namin ay dinala na agad sya sa hospital (It's a good thing that the police caught her and brought her back to the consulate after which we immediately brought her to the hospital)," he said.

Exmundo then asked the employer to let Arlene come back to the Philippines so that she can be properly treated and cared for. Her employer agreed and took care of everything that Arlene needed to be able go home.

He said that Arlene was lucky to have been hired by a kind employer."Hindi mo talaga masasabi kung ano ang pwedeng mangyari sa ating mga kababayan na nakikipag sapalaran dito (We really cannot say what can happen to our fellow Filipinos who try their luck here)," he said.The welfare officer said Arlene was escorted home by Vice Consul Lorenzo Jungco to Manila the other day via Saudi Airlines.

He said that Jungco had to escort the former OFW home because she cannot be left alone in her current condition.However, Jungco clarified that Arlene was not violent and that escorting her wasn't a problem since other deported OFWs who were also on their flight assisted."Ang mga ganitong sitwasyon ay palagi naming tinututukan para maayos namaihatid sa kanyang pamilya at mabigyan nang maayos na pangangalaga sapiling nila (We always see through these kinds of situations so that these OFWs can be properly sent back to their families and taken cared of)," he said.

He also said that having seen Arlene's case, aspiring OFWs should become stronger while working overseas."Sa araw-araw na pakikipagtunggali sa ating buhay dapat ay marunong tayo tumanggap nang ibinibigay sa atin nang panahon. dapat ay maging preparado ang ating isipan at damdamin sa anumang bagay na dumarating sa atin (With our everyday struggles, we should know how to deal with what is thrown at us, we should prepare our hearts and minds for whatever comes)," he said.

There are more than 60 distressed OFWs, some of whom have also become mentally unstable, temporarily housed at the OWWA center in Saudi Arabia while waiting for their cases to be resolved., welfare officers at the consulate say.

The cases of Arlene and a Filipino driver who ran berserk earlier this month in Jeddah,killing three people, could further boost a proposal by the Department of Foreign Affairs to require every Filipino seeking work abroad to undergo psychiatric or psychological examination.

The proposal has come under fire from various migrant groups, who warned that the requirement could only lead to unnecessary expenses by OFWs. - Ronaldo Concha and Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

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