In a Facebook post that was shared on Wednesday, October 12, Elmer Cato, the Charge d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, shared the sad faith of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Iraq.
According to Cato’s post, the unnamed Filipina OFW who originally hailed from Indanan, Sulu was only 36 years old when she passed away in her sleep in the home of her employer in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The employer informed the OFW’s agency in Erbil about her passing, so that the agency can inform the Philippine embassy, and so that the remains of the OFW can be sent home.
However, the manpower agency in Erbil never informed the Philippine embassy about the OFW’s death, not even one call.
Two weeks after the death of the OFW, members of the Philippine embassy asked the aid of the Kurdistan authorities and summoned the members of the manpower agency in Erbil regarding another trafficking case of a Filipino worker.
The manpower agency could have informed the embassy then that a Filipina worker has passed and that her body was in a freezer in a hospital in Erbil, but they never did.
According to Cato, the OFW’s death was only reported to them the week before Cato’s Facebook post was shared, and it was actually the OFW’s employer who reported her death after discovering that the OFW’s body had been in the hospital freezer for 40 days after her death.
According to the employer, when he asked the manpower company if the Philippine embassy had been informed of the OFW’s passing, the company insisted that it the employer’s duty and not theirs.
When the Philippine Embassy confronted the agency about the Filipina OFW, the agency disavowed knowledge about the OFW’s death, and said they only knew about her passing a few days ago.
According to Cato, when they confronted the agency and received a half-baked excuse, that was when they ‘did a DU30’, referring to President Rodrigo Duterte’s frequent use profanities and crude language. Cato said that they uttered words that a diplomat would never be heard saying.
With the help of fellow Filipinos in Kurdistan, the Philippine embassy was able to identify the Filipina OFW and reach her family in Mindanao.
According to the post, the Filipina was a victim of trafficking by illegal recruiters. She was likely offered a job in Dubai or Turkey, and ended up in Iraq through a boat-ride to Malaysia. This is most probably how she ended up working in Iraq despite the existence of a ban in deployment of Filipinos to Iraq.
The Philippine embassy is still facilitating measures to bring the Filipina OFW home.
As of this posting, Elmer Cato’s post has 529 reactions, 133 shares and 194 comments.
Check out the original post below: