Missionary: Many OFWs in Sudan suffer abuses
FUENTE: GMA NEWS
Many Filipino workers in Sudan are suffering from abusive employers and no longer expect Philippine officials to help them, a Filipino missionary has said.
Fr. Melito Pinili, a Filipino Franciscan assigned in Khartoum, said some Filipina home caregivers run away from their employers due to maltreatment and non-payment of wages.
“We will no longer seek shelter at the honorary consulate because we will just be turned over to our previous employers,” Pinili quoted concerned Khartoum-based overseas workers as saying, in an article posted Saturday on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news site.
He said workers who earlier escaped from their employers usually sought refuge at the honorary consul’s residence but most workers said they are returned to their employers.
There are no Filipino diplomats in Sudan as the country falls within the jurisdiction of the Philippine Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, he added.
“All we have is an honorary consul in Khartoum and a Filipino staff who helps in consular matters,” he said.
Pnili said many OFWs take part-time jobs to increase their income.
Other Filipino workers seek two or three employers who pay better wages rather than stay in a home and get paid from $150-200 (P6,864 to P9,153) a month.
“As Filipinos work on part-time basis and rent available spaces together, illicit relations occur,” Pinili said.
He said the problem becomes more complicated when the illicit relationship results in childbirth.
Illegitimate children are registered in the civil registrar and are given Philippine passports. Pinili said he does not know where most of these children born out of wedlock are brought.
He believes the illegitimate child is either brought to the mother’s or father’s parents back home.
The Association of Filipinos in Sudan’s registry reveals there are around 1,800 Filipinos there, excluding peacekeepers (either police or military personnel) in Darfur.
But Pinili believes there are at least 5,000 Filipinos in Sudan.
While there is no jueteng yet in Sudan, cockfighting has become a favorite pastime though they are barred from the usual shouting inside cockpits in the Philippines. Cockfighting is considered gambling and thus prohibited.
Pinili said workers should see to it they have a duly-signed contract between them and their agency or employer and verify with the Philippine consulate in Khartoum the actual status of their employer.
They should also be given pre-departure orientation about Sudan, what to and what not to expect.
“They should be told what they will have during meals like bread and beans because they don’t grow rice and mostly meat without pork and fish is a luxury,” Pinili said.
He said Filipinos usually look for rice, which is too costly because it still comes from Vietnam or Egypt.
In Sudan, Pinili said locals usually eat breakfast at 11 a.m. and lunch at 4 p.m. without dinner, while domestic caregivers are on call 24 hours a day.
Before Sudan, Pinili was assigned in Libya for four years where he served Filipino workers and expatriates including British, Irish, French, Italian, Indian professionals in petroleum companies and rigs.
“I also celebrated Mass at various oil rigs some two hours away by helicopter into the Mediterranean Sea,” he said.
In preparation to his posting in Sudan, Pinili was sent to Egypt for two years to study inter-religious dialogue, Arabic and Islamic studies. — LBG, GMANews.TV