Women’s group asks gov’t to save stranded workers in Malaysia

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A women’s group here on Tuesday asked the government to rescue 13 stranded Filipino workers in Malaysia whose lives were in danger of being caught and arrested.

Rhodora Bulosan, the spokesperson of Gabriela, a militant women’s group in Northern Mindanao, said that the workers have contacted relatives here about their precarious situation.

She said that the workers were in hiding and moving from place to place to avoid detection for fear of being arrested by Malaysian police.

Bulosan said that the Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW) have reported that the Malaysian authorities were cracking down on foreign workers in their country.

Bulosan said that the victims were fresh graduates from the Philippine School of Science and Technology (PSST), a local technical school whose management promised them works in foreign countries with competitive salaries after graduation.

The graduates were promised that they would be sent to Japan, Korea, Australia and Malaysia, she said.

Bulosan said that some fresh graduates actually arrived in Malaysia, some months back, but they were made to work in deplorable conditions and receiving measly wages not even enough for their needs.

Other graduates who are supposed to fly to other countries did not make it, but their documents, including their passports, were reportedly kept by the school, Bulosan said.

She said that some of the graduates were reportedly recruited sometime in 2014, but the school told them to wait until now.

Bulosan said that the school registrar identified as Pamela Vedra was arrested last week on the strength of a warrant of arrest issued by the regional trial court here.

Bulosan said that Vedra, together with the other school officials, was charged with large scale illegal recruitment and human trafficking.

She said that the other school officials who have remained at large and are now subject of warrant of arrests were Amy Bendisula, Rodrigo Bendisula and Ruben Llovia.

She said Gabriela has already requested the Overseas Workers Welfare and Amelioration (OWWA) office, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Philippine consular offices in the three countries and are awaiting word from these agencies.

“We have asked these government officials to rescue them, especially in Malaysia where there are 13 OFWs that were illegally recruited and are stranded there,” Bulosan said Friday.

She said these workers should be repatriated right away since one of them has contracted an illness already.

“They called us and said the Malaysian police raided a house not far from where they are staying. The next day, four people who were arrested ended up dead,” she added.

Bulosan said: “They are afraid that if they are caught, they might be killed next.” PNA/northboundasia.com