Single mother happy to go back home

DUBAI — As a single mother, Amina Hassan from the southern Philippine province of Cotabato wanted nothing more than to be with her 12-year-old son whom she had not seen in five years.

By Criselda E. Diala (FOCUS ON AMNESTY)

Published: Fri 27 Jul 2007, 9:44 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:20 AM

“He was seven years old when I left the Philippines to work as a domestic helper in Dubai. I don’t even know if he’ll recognise me when he sees me because he practically grew up with his grandmother,” said Amina before her depature for the Philippines on July 23 after completion of her amnesty procedures.

Like the hundreds of illegally-residing Filipinos in the UAE, Amina took advantage of the amnesty to return to her country after having spent five years in the UAE as an undocumented expatriate.

Separated from her husband in 1995, Amina said she had to work abroad for her son’s future. “Before I came to Dubai, I worked as a housemaid in Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia for three years,” she said.

In 2002, she came to Dubai to earn a living but after four months of working for her employer, she ran away because of alleged maltreatment. But instead of going to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) to seek repatriation assistance, Amina decided to stay behind as an illegal resident despite the obvious risks of being arrested and deported.

“I have no source of income back home and I have a son depending on me. I had to take the risks then,” she confided.

Although she would want to come back to the UAE to work again, Amina said she was a bit hesitant fearing a life-time ban being reportedly imposed on amnesty-seekers.

“I will see what the future has in store for me. But at the moment, I’m just excited to go back to Cotabato to be with my son,” she said on the day of her departure.

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