Philippine Embassy in Riyadh pledges to assist runaway DH

The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh has stated it will act on the complaints and request for repatriation of Maria Estela Samocino, former domestic helper (DH) in Buraidah, Qassim region, in Saudi Arabia.

    The statement was made in a text message from Charge d’Affaires Rommel Romato to retired foreign service officer (FSO) Rafael E. Seguis, who forwarded it to me. Romato was reacting to an online report on Samocino, 31.

    Seguis, who is now with the Geneva-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, was a Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the latter part of the 1990s. He was cross-posted to Indonesia later.

    In a subsequent message, Romato said, “Upon checking with POLO (Philippine Overseas Labor Office), we found out that (the) OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker)  was being sheltered at the Bahay Kalinga (BK). POLO is processing her case.”

    Samocino claimed that she ran away from her employer, Abdulaziz Mohammad Alhofayti, on June 24 because she was beaten up by his first wife Asma and his second wife Mischael Bansulamen for whom the DH worked for three years and two months but who did not pay the employee’s salary for 11 months.

    The OFW also wants to recover her personal belongings, including two suitcases and a bag containing substantial cash.

    When Samocino escaped, a Filipino sheltered her but, to play safe, the DH was handed over to another OFW until the representative of POLO in Riyadh 350 kilometers away fetched the runaway Filipino.

    It is illegal for anybody to shelter a runaway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    Samocino was brought to Rafa Hotel where she stayed for three months and later brought to the BK where she has been staying now for more than two months.

    Her recruiter in Manila is Greenfield Agency and in Saudi, which has reportedly closed down, is Alwab Al Amal.

    Samocino arrived in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 28, 2018 with Abdulrahman Saleh Alsuqub as sponsor. But she was sold after four months to another employer—Alhofayti— without her knowledge.

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