Malta is a picturesque island located in the heart of Mediterranean. Behind the wonderful sceneries that the country has to offer, three Filipina women were asking for help from the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after they were accused of human trafficking.
It can be recalled that on February, 11 Filipinos were arrested to testify against the JF Group over a human trafficking case.
It was on March when another 3 Filipino women were arrested on the act of being the agent. They got imprisoned for 10 days but were released as their case progressed.
“Nagpapa-interview kami ngayon kasisini-seek naminang help ng government. Di naman kami kriminal,” one of the accused said.
This issue burns down after the anomaly of the working permit of Filipinos working as waitress when their visa is only for cleaners got busted.
Two out of three insisted that they are not connected to the JF Group, instead they were just helping their fellow countrymen.
Only one of them admitted to being an employee of JF Group and said that the agency really needs to be fixed.
She also added that applicants actually know that their contract will not be followed.
“Alampo ng lahat ng nanditonawala pong kontrataangnasusunod. Angalam ng mga nag-aapplykuno, libreangtirahan. Pero alamponilanawalanglibre. So alamnilanalahat ‘yunika-kargalahat,” said Alleyah, one of JF Group employee.
Filipinos who want to work in Malta needs to pay 5,000 to 10,000 euros (P300,000 – P700,000) and no receipt were given to them.
“Walang resibosa Pilpinas at wala ring ibinibigay dito…Masasabi kong alam nila [applicants] kasisinasabinaman ‘yun ng agent o agency naganitoanggagawinsakontrata. Take it or leave it,” says Jenny, who works in Malta for 4 years.
Moreover, the three accused women complained that they didn’t received help from the Consulate. There is also a conflict of interest because the business of the honorary consul in also recruitment.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Rome are also the ones who reported them to the police.
“Angsakittalaganakailangannamin ng tatay o nanay, literally ang embassy nasaan kayo? Kasi hindinaminalam eh, talagangwala,” says one of the accused.
Honarary Consul Roger Strickland denied the allegations of the three women regarding his recruitment agency business. According to him, he already divested from the recruitment agency and gave all the rights to his family instead.
Filipino leaders in Malta and Italy also thinks that Labor Attache Haney Siclot is still inexperienced when it comes to dealing with the problems in the country.
Siclot got appointed in the country just last year.
“Hindi silasumasagotsa concern namin. Hindi dapatganun eh,” said Mona Rogong of the Filipino Contract Workers in Malta.
Meanwhile, Siclot refused to give further statement as the issue is already under court proceedings.
“Regarding the allegation that POLO-Rome tipped off Maltese officials, this is not part of our mandate, and our office continues to serve the Filipinos in line with the authorities sanctioned by law,” said Siclot.
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