The migrant rights group, Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) today called on the Philippine government through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), an adjunct agency to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), to impose sanctions against the recruitment agency that deployed an underage Filipino domestic worker.

“We call on POEA chief Mr. Hans Cacdac to take necessary action against the recruiter of an underage Filipino household service worker (HSW) who is in critical condition after she undergone an operation Saturday, a blood clot in her brain was removed; allegedly she was a victim of maltreatment,” said John Leonard Monterona, M-ME regional director.

Monterona is referring to OFW Rina (not her real name), 25 years old from Kabuntalan, Maguindanao based on the passport the group obtained showing she was born on February 16, 1990.

However, OFW Rina herself confirmed, on that time she could still talk, with her fellow wards at Saudi’s social welfare agency (SWA) that she’s only 17 and she was being maltreated.

“She was brought by her employer at SWA on September 19, and that day was very weak. On 24th, we were informed that she could no longer walk and talk, and in a state of coma,” Monterona added.

Immediately, Monterona added, “The concerned PH embassy and labor officials were informed about her condition. We have urged them to arrange to confine OFW Rina in a hospital to undergo medical checkup.”

Saturday early morning, she underwent MRI procedure and found out a blood clot in her brain. On the same day, she underwent an operation, according to Monterona who, along with Migrante colleagues, visited OFW Rina on Sunday and Tuesday in the hospital.

“The POEA should not dilly-dally to verify the information concerning OFW Rina’s real age and gather additional information surrounding her deployment,” Monterona averred.

Monterona further said, “Upon confirmation of her being deployed underage and was a victim of human trafficking, OFW Rina’s recruiter’s license must be cancelled immediately, and appropriate case must be filed.”

Monterona suggested that there must be an inter-agency to be formed consisting of representative from the PH embassy’s Assistance to the Nationals (ATN), DoLE-POLO-OWWA, and DSWD that will look and provide the needed assistance for OFW Rina.

“The deployment of underage aspiring OFWs is still rampant. We are receiving at least 3 cases of underage OFWs who were usual victim of maltreatment in a month,” Monterona revealed.

M-ME calls on fellow OFWs who would like to donate blood for OFW Rina as her platelet is very low.