ILAGAN, Isabela – Twenty-nine overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) now stranded in Oman have sought the assistance of President Arroyo to help them be repatriated and also collect their unpaid salaries for four years from their Taiwanese employer.
The workers, including eight from this province, were recruited by a Manila-based employment agency to work aboard a Taiwanese fishing vessel but have not received a single centavo in salary since their employment began four years ago.
The Filipino workers staged a strike aboard the fishing vessel, which is based in Oman in the Middle East, to protest the nonpayment of their salaries.
Imelda Capuchino, whose son Rodel is one of the stranded OFWs from Isabela, said she was worried about her son who was also reportedly suffering from a kidney ailment, aside from reportedly being overworked.
She said he was only 19-years-old when a local recruiter convinced them to allow him to work aboard a fishing vessel.
“I call on the government to help my son and his companions get their pay from their employer and come home. We are very worried about their situation,” said Rodel’s mother.
“Our work here is very difficult, yet we have not received anything at all for our work. We fear that if we go home, we might lose any claims to our salary,” Rodel told a local station here via long distance call from Oman.
The parents of the eight OFWs from Isabela are worried that their relatives might suffer the fate of one of their stranded companions, identified as Charlie Gano, who died from peptic ulcer while stranded on board the fishing vessel last year.
Meanwhile, the family of an OFW whose remains arrived from Lebanon last week called on the government to investigate what they described as her “mysterious death.”
The husband of Mary Ann Timog said they refused to believe that she had committed suicide while working as a housemaid in Lebanon.
He added that his wife’s remains showed signs of scratches, the left part of her face was smashed and she had a broken left leg.
The official autopsy report from Lebanon stated that there were no signs that she was raped.
Timog reportedly committed suicide last Dec. 21 by jumping from the 11th floor of an apartment building where she worked in Lebanon.
The victim’s parents and other relatives, however, questioned why she was naked when she was brought to the hospital in Lebanon.
“Madame President Arroyo, please help us get justice for our mother,” said one of Timog’s children.
Relatives said Timog, who went to Lebanon last year, was sending alarming text messages to her family, indicating her horrible situation a few days before her alleged suicide.–Charlie Lagasca, Philippine Star