Labor group calls for urgent action to help an OFW beaten in Malaysia

An overseas Filipino worker beaten almost to death in Kuching, State of Sarawak, Malaysia needs an urgent assistance from the Philippine government, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) said in a statement.

Penny Fritz Gutierrez Pido, 39 who is currently in Borneo Medical Centre in Kuching is slowly recuperating from severe lacerations to her scalp, a broken hand and wrist, and a broken leg. Her employer, a British family based in Malaysia, is the suspected perpetrator.

“Philippine embassy’s response is very slow,” said Josua Mata, Sentro’s Secretary General, who met with the Philippine Labor Attaché in Malaysia on Friday, May 24.

According to Mata, “as of today [May 24] no Philippine official has visited Pido and that the Philippine embassy’s lawyer is planning to visit the victim next Wednesday, May 29, adding “the planned visit may prove too late and will pose a complication for any legal actions needing Pido’s presence because her visa’s expiration is on May 29, 2019.”

The government should looked into this, Mata said, acknowledging that Senator Joel Villanueva called up already the Philippine embassy in Malaysia “but the executive department should be on top of this, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Labor Department.”

“This case is yet an addition to our rather long list of reasons why the government should focus on developing the local economy to prevent forced labor migration. If you have no choice but to work abroad for lack of enough employment in the Philippines, then its really a ‘forced’ labor migration,” Mata said.

According to initial reports, the assault to Pido happened on May 8 and she was brought to the hospital in May 9. Her male employer left for Britain in May 7, a day before the incident. She was brought to the hospital by her female employer, the suspect, and was threatened against reporting to Malaysian authorities. The employer refuses to pay the hospital bill which last week has already reached 30,000 Malaysian ringgit (RM), or about Php373,800. The female employer and two children remain in Malaysia.

Pido’s male employer reportedly returned to Great Britain on the day of the incident while the wife and other family members remain in Malaysia.

A local politician in Malaysia who posted in his facebook update about the incident in May 16 was instrumental in providing initial public awareness of the case, when acting on a tip off, he contacted a local police official to investigate the case. The post was picked up by other concerned OFWs and relayed to other channels.

Pido is now accompanied by a younger sister in the hospital and waiting for a visit from Philippine officials.

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