OWWA offers assistance to ‘laglag bala’ victim

MANILA, Nov. 6 (PNA) — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has offered assistance to Gloria Ortinez, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was stopped at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after airport authorities found a bullet in her luggage last month.

With this, Administrator Rebecca Calzado said that the OFW’s legal counsel is scheduled to visit the OWWA head office in Manila to further discuss her case.

The OWWA Regional Office had visited the Ortinez family in Ilocos Sur where they narrated their ordeal to the OWWA team.

Calzado added that OWWA Welfare Officer at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Hong Kong is continuously trying to reach the employer to ensure worker’s term of employment.

On Oct. 25, Ortinez was apprehended after authorities discovered a bullet in her luggage. She was released temporarily and still under investigation.

Meanwhile, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz assured the family of Brenda Lamigo Bance, another OFW who allegedly committed suicide in Hong Kong that the department, through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in the said country, of repatriation assistance.

Likewise, she assured the family of the OFW of financial assistance from the government through the OWWA.

“The OWWA will provide assistance for the repatriation of OFW Brenda Bance’s remains, as well as financial support to her beneficiaries,” Baldoz said in a statement.

She also instructed Calzado to assist the family of the OFW in coping up with her death and to facilitate the release of their benefits as an active OWWA-member. Bance’s latest OWWA membership was renewed on Oct. 5, 2014.

According to the report of International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) Director Saul de Vries, Bance, a household service worker, allegedly committed suicide on Oct. 18, 2015 inside her employer’s home in Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Her employer found her body before 8:00 a.m. hanging from a bamboo pole, with a scarf tied around her neck.

Bance had been employed for almost 11 years by her 90-year old employer, Chen Fu Fing, who last saw her alive at 8:00 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2015.

The Philippine Consulate General is currently handling the case and has already informed her family in Iloilo of her death. PNA