A 45-year-old Filipina domestic helper who was a victim of abuse and whose plea for help had gone viral on social media was finally repatriated from Zarah, Kuwait, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said Tuesday.
"Sobrang nakahinga ako nang maluwag at makakauwi na sa Pilipinas," Rosemarie Jullanda said, as stated by OWWA in a news release.
Jullanda's situation in Kuwait reached authorities after a video of her asking for help was posted on the internet by one of her five children on December 7. In the video, she accused her employer of physically abusing her.
"Sinampal ako ng kabilaan tapos tinadyakan ako. Pinagsusuntok pa ako sa tiyan. Wala naman akong ginawang kasalanan, di naman masama yung ginawa ko. Narinig lang niya na umiyak yung anak niya, di ko naman inaano," Jullanda said in the video in between sobs.
While it was instrumental in her being sent home, the video also caused Jullanda trouble when her employer learned about it.
"Ang amo ko pa ang nagsabi sa akin na nasa video ako at noong nalaman niya iyon ay sinaktan na naman niya ako," she said in the OWWA news release.
She said when she requested to be allowed to return to her foreign recruitment agency (FRA), she was instead brought to a deserted place for two hours and then to a police station where she stayed for 16 hours.
Jullanda said although she was able to communicate with her FRA, she was brought back to her employer, with whom had been working since April 2015. She was then forced to make a video of her retracting her claims of abuse. To regain her employer's trust, Jullanda said she resumed her work.
Jullanda, who has five children aged 25, 23, 21, 19, and two, was released from her employer's custody three days later when she was suddenly given a plane ticket and driven to the airport for her flight.
Representatives from her local recruitment agency, ABCA International Corporation, reached a settlement with her at the OWWA Center after her arrival in the Philippines.
The OFW received P100,000 representing her remaining six month's salaries and ABCA's aid for her medical expenses.
She was also granted scholarships for her school-age children and the "Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay" livelihood program by OWWA. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News