ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto ‘John’ Bertiz III has credited President Duterte’s “effective diplomacy” for the homecoming of Pahima ‘Candies’ Alagasi, the Filipina domestic worker scalded by her employer in Saudi Arabia four years ago.
“We are truly grateful to the President for his help in bringing Pahima home,” Bertiz said in a statement issued upon Alagasi’s arrival Friday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on a Philippine Airlines flight from Riyadh.
Alagasi, 26, and a native of Pikit, North Cotabato, is scheduled to call on the President in Davao City tomorrow, Saturday, where she will also be reunited with her two children for the first time since she left her hometown to work in Saudi Arabia in March 2014.
“It is an honor that this representation was able to be of help in bringing Pahima’s case to the attention of the President and it was very timely that the Saudi Prince visited our country,” Bertiz added.
The President raised Pahima’s case and sought her repatriation when Saudi Prince and Interior Minister Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif visited Manila and paid a courtesy call on Malacañan on March 19.
Responding to the President’s request, the Saudi Prince interceded and had the cases against Alagasi resolved at once.
Alagasi was only 22 years old and barely two months on the job when she dropped the lid of a thermos while preparing coffee for her employer. The irate employer seized the thermos and poured all its contents on Alagasi’s back as she bent down to pick up the cap.
As a result, Alagasi suffered severe burn injuries on her neck, back and thighs. She lurched in pain unattended for three hours before her employer allowed her to seek treatment.
Alagasi ran away while seeking treatment in a hospital, sought refuge in a shelter run by the Philippine embassy in Riyadh, and filed a maltreatment complaint against her employer. The complaint was eventually thrown out by a Saudi judge.
In retaliation, the employer filed false accusation and absconding charges against Alagasi, thus stalling her repatriation.
Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Manila, Dr. Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Bussairy, earlier informed Bertiz that the two cases filed by the employer against Alagasi were “finished and closed.”