Ruler to rescue of Filipina maid

DUBAI — A Filipina housemaid’s passport, which was unlawfully held by her employer even after theft charges filed against her were dismissed by the court, has been released to the Philippine Consulate General's (PCG) custody following the intervention of the Ruler of Fujairah himself, a consulate official said yesterday.

By Criselda E. Diala

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Published: Mon 12 Jun 2006, 10:04 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:21 PM

Philippine Consul General Antonio S. Curameng disclosed that His Highness Shaikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah, had been instrumental in the immediate release of the passport of J.E., a Filipina who had worked as a housemaid for a UAE local sponsor in Fujairah.

“During our courtesy call on Shaikh Hamad last week, he asked us about the Filipino community and if there was something that he can do for them. We thought it was an opportune time to present to him the case of J.E.,” Curameng began.

The consul general further noted that they were able to get J.E.'s passport on the same day they made the courtesy call on Shaikh Hamad, who said that it is "illegal for the employer to keep the employee's passport.”

Vicente Cabe, Philippine Labour Attache, explained that J.E. was under her Emirati sponsor's employment for four years until 10 months ago when she was accused by the same employer of stealing Dh400,000 cash and 13kg of gold from him.

J.E. was then turned over to the Fujairah Police and was detained for three months while the case was being heard. Eventually, the court dismissed the case due to lack of evidence.

However, even after the verdict was announced in favour of J.E., her employer continued to keep her passport and resisted when asked to coordinate with the PCG in settling J.E.'s backwages and air ticket.

Both Cabe and Curameng believed that the accusation was dubious due to some incoherent information. “The employer said the money and the gold were inside the vault when J.E. took them but how can she ever carry a vault? Likewise, we asked him to pay 10 months' worth of J.E.'s salary but he said he can only afford to pay three months because he doesn't have the money,” Cabe said.

Curameng said they have required the local sponsor to pay J.E. an equivalent of 10 months of salary to cover her unpaid wages, the time she was in detention, and the months of lost employment opportunity for her because of the case.

At the moment, J.E. is in the custody of a Philippine Overseas Labour Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) volunteer. Although she can be repatriated to the Philippines since her papers are ready for cancellation, she was advised to stay behind until her dues have been collected.

Cabe disclosed, however, that the Emirati sponsor still does not want to cooperate with them to pay up J.E.'s salary.

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