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Filipino Doctors in KSA » editor's pick, OFW » DOLE suspends agency of OFW who died of acid burns, stab wounds in Saudi

DOLE suspends agency of OFW who died of acid burns, stab wounds in Saudi

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has suspended the recruitment agency of the domestic helper in Saudi Arabia who died of acid burns and stab wounds early this month.

In a phone interview, Labor Attache David Des Dicang of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Eastern Region Operations (POLO-ERO) said the DOLE has temporarily suspended the Manila-based PRA Solidworks Manpower Resources & Promotion, the agency of Romilyn Eroy-Ibañez.

Ibañez, a 22-year-old domestic helper in Al-Khobar, was taken to the King Fahd Hospital on September 8 after she was found unconscious and injured in the kitchen of her employer’s residence. She died later on at the hospital.

Initial investigation showed that Ibañez had knife wounds in her neck, abdomen and wrist, as well as acid burns in her mouth area, arms and legs.

Violations

Dicang said PRA was suspended for recruitment violations, after documents from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that Ibañez was recruited as a nursing aide in a polyclinic, but ended up working as a domestic helper instead.

“She was only 22 years old. According to Philippine laws, domestic helpers employed overseas must be at least 23 years old,” Dicang told GMANews.TV.

“The agency must have circumvented the law to be able to deploy her abroad,” he added.

The DOLE will further look into Ibañez’s papers to check if more cases of labor violations may be filed against PRA, Dicang said.

He explained the suspension was based on the recommendation of the POLO-ERO.

Ongoing investigation

Meanwhile, Dicang said local authorities have yet to conclude their investigation on the death of Ibañez, but vowed to inform the Philippine post as soon as the autopsy and case report are completed.

“Ambassador [Antonio] Villamor has already sent a letter to the Eastern Province Governor [Prince Muhammad bin Fahd] to request for his intervention to speed up the investigation,” said Dicang.

The Governor has yet to respond to the Ambassador’s request.

Dicang said authorities refused to confirm if the suspects for the death of the Filipina worker were already arrested.

Repatriation

The remains of Ibañez, a native of North Cotabato province in Mindanao, can only be repatriated as soon as investigations are complete, according to the labor attaché.

“Once her remains are repatriated, her family will receive P200,000 as death benefit and P20,000 as burial assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration,” Dicang added.

Ibañez had been working in the Kingdom for barely four months prior to her death.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said an almost empty container of sulfuric acid was recovered from the scene.

Representatives of the Philippine Embassy in Saudi Arabia earlier met with the police and the attending physician, who said that it was impossible for Ibañez to have committed suicide by stabbing herself and ingesting the acid at the same time.

The medical staff purportedly said that the Filipina’s internal organs could not sustain the acid ingestion, which caused her death. JERRIE M. ABELLA, KBK, GMANews.TV

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