Bring them home, please

Bring them home, please

Candice, 22, suffered terrible burns on her back and legs when her lady employer doused her with boiling water as she was bent over to pick up the lid of a thermos from the floor.
This controversial and heart-wrenching case happened last May and was revealed through Facebook when a sympathetic relative decided to upload photos of the Filipino maid’s physical condition. A police investigation ensued, and “Candice” has since remained under the custody of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
She is now appealing for help to return to her husband and two children in the province of North Cotabato, Mindanao. We followed up her case with the Philippine Embassy through an e-mail sent to Ambassador Ezzedin Tago. He replied with not-so-good news about the developments in the case.
The prosecutor handling the case decided to dismiss the complaint. The Filipino domestic worker faces charges of slander filed by the mother of her male employer, whom “Candice” accused of pouring boiling water down her back. Because of this case, the maltreated household worker is now unable to come home, despite repeated appeals from her family here in the Philippines. The nightmare now seems to be endless.
Another case of a Filipino crying for help so that he can come home is McCormick Rabina. A sales staff working in a mall, “Mic” as his family calls him, has outstanding hospital bills amounting to SR200,000 incurred at Saudi German Hospital. McCormick was a victim of assault by four still unidentified men, and he was found by a fellow Filipino wandering in the desert with his forehead caked in dried blood, and his clothes torn apart.
“Mic” has been in Saudi Arabia for a year and his monthly remittances are earmarked for the college education of his youngest sister. His father is a farmer while his mother sells food at a local public market. They hail from the province of Bukidnon in Mindanao.
Both families have come to see this writer on separate occasions, appealing for help so that their loved ones can come home and begin again, but this time with the entire family close by. “Candice” and “Mic” are physically well enough to travel but there are obstacles to their coming home that are now beyond their control.
For “Mic”, the staggering amount of unpaid hospital bills is the biggest deterrent. According to his family, the Saudi-based insurance company has declined the worker’s request for assistance in paying for the hospital bills.
In “Candice’s” case, this writer learned that the counter-charges filed by her employer have become a major obstacle to her repatriation. How ironic that this young woman who will now be scarred for life because of the boiling water incident finds herself at the receiving end of a defamation case.
I join the two families in requesting the help of the Philippine and Saudi governments to help these two workers come home so that they can mend their inner wounds, be with their families, and move on with the rest of their lives. There were cases in the past involving physically abused Filipino migrant workers where compassion, if not justice, won the day, and they were allowed or assisted to come home on humanitarian grounds.
“Candice” and “Mic” did nothing wrong to tempt the fates. Keeping them away from their families will prolong the untold agony that had befallen them. Can we please all work together to bring them home?

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