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Sexually abused Philippine worker dies in Saudi Arabia

20 August 2016 16:38

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A Philippine worker, who was allegedly raped by her Saudi employer, has succumbed to her wounds while in a coma.

Philippine Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III said in a radio interview from Jeddah on Friday that 35-year-old Irma Avila Edloy died at the King Salman Hospital in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, because of severe injuries.

“The latest news is she passed away,” Bello said, adding, “I tried to talk to her. I introduced myself and whispered to her to move her fingers if she can hear me but there was no response.”

Edloy had implicated her employer in the sexual assault when asked by a nurse, Bello noted.

“Before she went unconscious, the nurse told me that the employer went there which elicited a reaction from Irma. The employer allegedly appeared tense and left. And when the nurse asked her if she was maltreated, she pointed to her employer,” the official said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Philippine labor chief raised the suspicion that Edloy may have been a victim of gang rape due to the extent of her wounds.

Meanwhile, Congressman Aniceto “John” Bertiz, of ACTS-Overseas Filipino Workers (ACTS-OFW), said that Edloy had a stroke when her employer visited her at the hospital, calling for efforts to prevent her case from being “buried and forgotten.”

Furthermore, Philippine government officials urged an investigation into Edloy’s death.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose announced that ‘there will be legal action against the perpetrator, especially if the legal report indicates that” the Philippine worker died of her wounds caused by maltreatment.


Saudi Labor Minister Mufrej al-Haqbani (R) and Philippine Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III speak to the media in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, August 17, 2016. ©Reuters

 

Bello is in Riyadh during an emergency trip to help repatriate Philippine workers who have lost their jobs and are stranded in the kingdom.The Filipinos worked in engineering and technical sectors as well as office positions.

Bello has stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte wants the workers back as soon as possible.

The roughly 11,000 Filipinos are among tens of thousands of foreign workers affected by financial woes at Saudi Arabia’s construction companies. The workers are not able to renew their residency permits in Saudi Arabia, so they could not leave the country.

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