Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Complaint filed against comatose OFW’s employer

Published: Aug 21, 2010 00:19 Updated: Aug 21, 2010 00:19
JEDDAH: The Philippine Consulate General has filed a complaint against an employer for failing to repatriate a Filipino worker who has been in a vegetative state for nearly five years.
The consulate has voiced its concerns to the Human Rights Commission’s office in Riyadh over Atif Kurdi’s treatment of Augusto “Jun” A. Butaran, who is currently at a hospital in Taif.
“Case officer Liza Masa recently filed the complaint with the commission. To make it direct, we requested Butaran’s son Joseph sign the complaint,” Consul General Ezzedin H. Tago told Arab News on Wednesday.
Joseph, 27, applied for work with the Abu Shakra Restaurant in Jeddah so that he could stay close to his father, who suffered a heart attack in July 2007 after working for nearly 20 years at the National Printing Press.
The business, which has since closed down, was located on Babalria Street in Taif. Kurdi and his family are now staying in Jeddah.
The consulate had already lodged a complaint with the police in Salamah district in Taif. Officers called Kurdi, who promised that Butaran would be repatriated.
When he did not fulfill his promise, the consulate told Masa to file the complaint in accordance with the wishes of Butaran’s wife.
Arab News reported that Butaran’s wife talked to Philippine Ambassador Antonio P. Villamor about her husband’s plight on June 21.
“We are now waiting for feedback from the Human Rights Commission regarding what the former employer has said,” Masa said.
Kurdi told the consulate earlier that he would give the SR31,000 needed for his former employee’s repatriation. The amount would include the cost of a plane ticket for a nurse who would accompany Butaran to his hometown of Kawit in Cavite province.
Butaran is also due to receive SR15,000 in benefits and unpaid salaries. But Kurdi has had difficulty raising the amount.
“The employer had merely been making empty promises, saying that his brother Aiman would coordinate with the consulate regarding the repatriation of Jun. His brother had visited the consulate once or twice. But nothing substantial was accomplished as far as Jun’s repatriation is concerned,” Butaran’s wife told Arab News.
She added that Butaran’s passport had also expired, although the consulate later validated it.
“We don’t know how many more times it will be validated until Atif Kurdi makes good on his promise. He also promised that he’d renew Jun’s iqama but I am not sure if he has done it.”

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