Pinay DHs advised to save

It is common to read or hear about Filipino domestic helpers (DH) being maltreated overseas.

One reason is the big number of Filipino women being deployed to work in a foreign land.

An online report, ”Filipino Domestic Workers: The Invisible Workforce Product of Globalization”, said every year, 172,000 Filipino women leave the Philippines to seek better opportunities overseas to financially support their families. Most of them engage in domestic work.

The report by Mihiri Wijetunge, a Monaco national, was written in French and translated into English by Abra Rosaline.

There are also those who are lucky to have good and considerate employers, like Annie Compendio Hermano, who is doubling as a nanny in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

She started with a salary of SR1,500 (P22,620) six years back but received raises over the years. She now gets SR2,000 (P30,160).

She accompanies her employers, both university professors when they travel with their kids outside Riyadh for weekend vacations.

People like Hermano are enjoying themselves. But this is where the problem lies for many. They forget that the job is not forever. They do not bother to save for the future when the job ends.

If and when they are asked to leave, or when their contracts are not renewed, they do not know what to do because they did not set aside money for the rainy days.

Their employers are nice to them because of their service. But they will grow old and lose their strength, no longer able to give the kind of service their employers expect.

This is the case of 47-year-old Fazlhiya Joseph Arca (a.k.a. Nor Fatima Arca Mamalumpong) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

On the afternoon of April 6, 2024, she sent a text message stating that her employer’s parents had returned her to the agency even though her contract was valid until October 2025.

Di na kasi ako makapag-concentrate sa trabaho dahil sa pagod,” she said.

(I could no longer concentrate on my work because of fatigue.)

She said there was much to do. She did all the household chores by herself, such as washing clothes, cooking and cleaning the house. She also looked after a six-month-old child and boys aged six and nine.

Humingi ako ng oras para magpahinga pero hindi pumayag ang madam ko,” she said.

(I requested a rest period, but my employer’s wife would not agree.)

She said she was with her employer for six months, including two months working for the family of her employer’s sibling.

The agency noted violations committed by the employer, who demanded 8,000 AED (P123,200) for the expenses incurred in hiring Mamalumpong.

She said the agency told her not to cook, clean the house, or look after the kids, but she was made to do all these and did not complain to the agency.

She said that, upon learning of violations of her contract, the agency pulled out the DH who replaced her.

Ako ay 47 years old na at mahihirapan ang aking agency na humanap ng employer na tatanggap sa akin,” she said.

(I’m now 47 years old, and my agency will have difficulty finding me a new employer.)

As a solo parent, she was not able to save because she was the only one supporting her grown-up son, who was taking engineering classes at a college in Mindanao.

She also asked for help on July 2, 2022, while she was still working in Taif, near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

She needed the job, so instead of asking for rescue, she requested that a Filipino official talk to her employer about being more reasonable in dealing with her.

Rafael E. Seguis, a retired foreign service officer, referred her case to Department of Migrant Workers  (DMW) Undersecretary and officer-in-charge (OIC) Hans Leo J. Cacdac and Consul General  Edgar Tomas “Gary” A. Auxilian of the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah.

Auxilian referred the case to Labor Attaché Roel B. Martin of the Migrant Workers Office (MWO) in Jeddah.

Not long after, Nor Fatima sent a text message to express her thanks since her employer had changed.

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