“For not revoking the license of notorious recruitment agency, POEA officials should be held partly accountable for the death of Irma. And as immediate rectification, they should close it now!”
This was the statement of Mic Catuira, Acting Secretary General of Migrante International as family and supporters under the Justice for Irma Movement gather at the wake in Brgy. Gulod, Quezon City.
Irma, mother of 3 children, was a domestic helper in Saudi Arabia who was allegedly raped and killed by her employer. She was deployed by Rejoice Employment International Corporation on July 30, 2016. Based on reports, her employer brought her to the foreign agency and then the latter brought her to the hospital on August 10. She was covered with bruises and bleeding profusely. She passed away after a week after suffering from cardiac arrests and succumbed to a comatose.
“Kung kinansela ng POEA ang lisensya ng Rejoice, buhay pa sana si Irma at hindi na sana ito nakapang-biktima pa ng marami nating kababayan,” Catuira lamented.
According to Migrante, Rejoice agency has been neglecting the welfare of its deployed workers and is guilty of recruitment and contract violations. Based on the group’s records, since July 2015 until present, at least 20 OFWs were victimized because of the agency’s “utter disregard” for the security and welfare of their workers.
Inluded in their list is Gina Brozula Bodoso, another domestic helper in Saudi Arabia, who also died in Saudi Arabia. It was in July 2015 when her family last contacted her and relayed her problems of sickness due to insufficient food and overwork. Her family immediately reported the call and told them to act on Gina’s problems. There were no feedbacks from the agency until the family was able to finally contact the employer on October 8 and told them that Gina had an accident while working at home and was under comatose. But the agency later on informed them that she died after trying to escape through a window and jumped.
Gina’s sister filed cases at the POEA against the agency and employer. After several hearings on the case, the POEA did not render a decision penalizing the respondents. According to Migrante, even the complaints of other OFWs filed last year have not yet concluded to a decision. These cases could have warranted a cancellation of Rejoice’s license.
Migrante also accused the POEA for not quickly acting on the suspension of Rejoice after they learned of Irma Jotojot’s plight. Rejoice was only placed under “preventive suspension” on August 26. It was able to deploy at least 22 OFWs from the period of Irma’s hospitalization until its suspension. Two of the workers immediately sought for repatriation after realizing that they were duped by the agency.
Later in the afternoon, Migrante trooped to POEA to demand the immediate closure of Rejoice agency.
As an expression of her solidarity for the family’s pursuit for justice, Congresswoman Emmi De Jesus of Gabriela Womens’ Party visited the wake and extended her condolences. Yesterday, she filed House Resolution 462 directing the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs to conduct an inquiry on the death of Irma.
“We are again enraged at this latest injustice against our fellow OFW. Foul play is evident. We join Irma’s family in calling for a probe on her death and serving strong punishment to the murderer,” said Catuira.
Irma’s remains will be laid to rest tomorrow at the Holy Cross Memorial Park in San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City at 1pm. ###