The family of OFW Maria Shiegrid Sanchez Santos also known to her family as Grace is crying out for justice. Grace was a domestic helper in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates for two years, and about to finish her contract as a domestic worker in two months’ time. She promised her family that she will be finally home soon. Indeed, she’s coming home soon, but in a coffin.
The family was surprised and brokenhearted upon the demise of Grace. Her husband, Ariel Santos, claimed that Grace has been abused and beaten up even before the pandemic happened, and during the early period of her employment. Ariel advised Grace to escape and report the case to the local authorities. But she insisted that she’s ok despite the beating she experienced and that she just wanted to finish her contract and go back to the Philippines. However, according to the husband, Grace also did not receive her monthly salary when the beating started.
Added to the injury is the slow action on the part of the Philippine government. That despite the report from the police, the family only learned of the incident a week after her death. Someone should be responsible in the Department of Foreign Affairs office in this slow action. The DFA must investigate this heinous crime” said Arman Hernando, the Vice Chairperson of MIGRANTE International and a member of CWWM-PH.
“Likewise, we demand that justice be served to the bereaved family by providing them with immediate legal and financial assistance. The immediate family member must be assisted in coming to the UAE in order to learn the details of the case and to witness the legal court proceedings” Mr. Hernando added.
“The Churches Witnessing with Migrants – Philippines (CWWM-PH), a loose network of grassroots migrants together with their advocates including Churches and migrant-serving institutions are one with the family in calling for justice for Grace Santos. Likewise, the network calls the attention of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to look into this matter with urgency and to ensure legal, psychological and economic support to the grieving family” said Rev. Marie Sol Villalon, the spokesperson of CWWM-Philippines.
“As President Duterte will soon hold his last SONA, we pray that he will render justice to Grace Santos and to all migrant workers who were murdered abroad, those that are victims of human trafficking, as well as those who are in need of immediate repatriation. Many of our OFWs have endured suffering exacerbated by the pandemic. We pray that this government provide our OFWs in distress with utmost importance, immediate action and cash relief” Rev. Villalon averred. “We are poor. Grace’s only intention for working abroad is to provide our family a better life” Ariel Santos said. “We want justice for her death” Ariel continued.
The CWWM-PH vows to continue the campaign calling for justice to Grace Santos and to all overseas Filipino migrant workers!