By Roy Mabasa
The Philippine government is now working closely with authorities in Saudi Arabia to make sure that the employer of Agnes Mancilla, who forced her to drink household bleach, is held accountable.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported that Consul General Edgar Badajos of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah will be seeing authorities in Jizan who are handling Mencilla’s case to ensure that the proper charges would be filed against her employer.
“The condition of Mencilla has improved and she could now talk,” the statement further said.
“Despite her condition, Agnes Mancilla was able to share her horrifying story of abuse in the hands of her employer,” the DFA said.
The OFW told Consul General Badajos it was her female employer who forced her to drink household bleach for failing to make tea properly.
She also said she has not been fed anything except coffee for almost 40 days and was made to work from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Consul General Badajos was further told by Mencilla that the burnt marks on her back were actually bite marks.
“Kinakagat daw siya palagi ng amo niyang babae tuwing nagkakamali siya (She said her female employer bites her when she commits mistakes),” Badajos narrated.
Mancilla arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2016 as a household service worker for the same employer.
They were initially based in Jeddah but transferred last year to Jizan where the maltreatment allegedly started.
She has been without contact with her family in the Philippines for almost two years because her employers confiscated her phone.
Mancilla was rushed unconscious by concerned members of the Filipino community to the Jizan King Fahd Central Hospital on April 2 after her female employer allegedly forced her to ingest household bleach.
She underwent laparotomy immediately after she was taken to the hospital to flush out the bleach from her stomach. Doctors also found burn marks on her back.
The DFA gave its assurance that the Philippine government always looks after the welfare of its nationals abroad and is always ready to extend the necessary assistance to distressed OFWs wherever they may be.
“We always work with host governments in making sure that the rights of our kababayans are respected,” it stressed.
The DFA further emphasized that there are existing bilateral mechanisms in addressing cases of abuse in countries where Filipinos go to work.
“In the case of Agnes, we are working closely with authorities in Saudi Arabia in making sure her employer is held accountable,” the DFA said.