A Real Life, Modern-day Hero?

Lebria said they also suffered physical and verbal abuse. “Minumura ka sa Koreano tsaka Arabo na may halong kamay,” (They curse us in Korean and Arabic. They even hurt us physically) narrated Lebria.

Lebria tried to voice out their concerns. But the problem is Clause 21 of the contract stated that any labor dispute should be resolved by arbitration not in Qatar but in Seoul, Korea under the guiding principles of Commercial Arbitration Rules of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.

He also later found out that the employment contract he signed was fake because it lacked the signature of the Labor Attache’ and there was no Arabic translation. Aside from these discrepancies, the said provision of the contract that specifically stipulated the arbitration clause was seen as defective.

Uphill battle

In action movies, the movie closes with the lead character winning over the villain. But for Lebria, this is just the start of the battle.

Determined to stop the abuses he and his co-workers were experiencing, Lebria decided to make representations in the group’s behalf. “Tumakas ako, Tuesday, para lang makarating itong problema namin sa kinauukulan. Pinapuslit nga ako ng ibang lahi para maexpose na itong nangyayari samin,” (I escaped last Tuesday to be able to bring our complaints to the proper authorities. My co-workers from different countries even helped me escape so that we could expose what was happening to us) narrated Lebria.

Like in previous cases of distressed OFWs, Lebria told Bulatlat that the Philippine Embassy in Qatar was not much of a help. He said Philippine embassy officials gave him the run-around. He did not receive any support from embassy officials and employees. He was sheltered by Migrante while he was away from work because the Philippine Embassy claimed that they could only accommodate women OFWs because of lack of budget.

On March 24 , Lebria was originally scheduled to meet Qatar’s Vice Consul Jabber Ahfrung to finally settle the dispute between the employees and the employers of Woolim. However, he said in dismay, “Nagpunta ako doon tapos wala naman yung mga ka dialogue ko, nagkakanya kanya ng iwas pusoy,” (I went to the said meeting but there was no one to dialogue with. It seems that embassy officials were evading responsibility by not getting involved in the case.)

Fighting the battle up until the end

Because Lebria and the 16 other complainants lacked the support they were seeking overseas, they decided to take the fight home where they hoped to find more supporters and have a greater chance of winning the case. Lebria was given an exit permit due on the last day of March. “Ngayon andito na ako sa Pilipinas, ay ituloy ko na ang laban.” (Now that I’m here in the Philippines, I would continue the battle.) he added.

Lebria thinks that they have somehow won the battle in Woolim. Some of the minor problems that they were complaining about were already resolved such as the need for additional buses for their transportation services. They often see representatives from the Philippine Embassy and recruitment agencies visiting their workplace to see their condition. But the question remains, is this really for good?

Lebria said that he no longer believes in the government. “Wala nang lalapit sa Migrante kung kumikilos ang gobyerno,” (No one would ask assistance from Migrante if the government has been doing its job.) he said.

“Hangga’t andyan ang mga may pakana, kasabwat sa mga lugar na iyan, mas madami pang maloloko,” (For as long as the people behind this and their accomplices remain in position, more people are going to be deceived.) He is planning to file a case against POEA, the Batangueno Agency Inc., Woolim and Hyundai with the hope of being able to find justice for the sufferings that they had to go through.

But Lebria admitted that he would still try to work abroad despite all the problems he experienced. He believes that working abroad is the only way that he and his family would be able to survive. “Ang ayoko yung pamilya ko walang makain dito, kaya, andun na yun, naloloko, mag-iingat na lang sa susunod,” (I don’t want to see my family go hungry. This is why I have to work abroad despite the possibility of being cheated again. I just have to be careful next time.)(Bulatlat.com)

Share This Post

9 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. kaming mga ofw ang isa sa mga nagbibigay ng malaking kontribusyon sa ating bansa sa pamamagitan ng pagpapadala ng pera. subalit,bakit kami ang nadedehado pagdating sa mga ganitong sitwasyon.magaling lang ang gobyerno sa pagpapabango bulok naman ang sistema nyo!!! mga bwiset!!!

  2. naman wag mo na pansinin si nag-sasalita lng yan ng wla sa sarili.hak hak.di na dapat patulan matututo pa yan sa aten eh,pabayaan nlng na ngumawngaw yan.dahil kabaliktaran ng mga sinasabi nya ay realidad na nararanasan ng mamamayan.saken naku pugi mo pagnag-aksaya ako ng laway pra icounter ang ang mga sinasabi mo.malinaw nmn wla kang mga batayan s mga sinasabi mo.

  3. Hi Zharina,

    Is there any scientific and academic research to prove your claims that the Phils.' smallness, alleged lack of resources, and overpopulation, is to blame?

    1. The United Nations FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) itself says that the global agricultural system produces more than enough food for ten times the present population. It's not a question of countries like us being overpopulated, its a question of certain classes having the sole dictate of what crops to plant, where to sell it, how much to sell it.

    2. As for resources, if that was true, then an even tinier country like Cuba would have collapsed a long time. But why is it presently a model for energy efficiency? Simple, because it harnessed indigenous technology to use renewable energy. It's not a matter if we don't have oil. You forget, there's water and sun all around us.

    3. Additionally, our mineral deposits are now relatively large considering that some countries are overmining theirs. We could command huge profits for national development, yet the Gov't is simply selling out these to mining TNCs cheap!

    Please do your homework before you go shooting your mouth off.

  4. makibaka ang sambayanan para mapalitan ang bulok na sistema na lipunan.

  5. Has it ever occurred to any of you (and that goes for the rest of the Filipinos too!) the reason why Filipinos become OFW's? Corruption aside (I know it's rampant in the Philippines, some foreigners thnks it's part of Filipino culture), Philippines is such a small country, little resources, and OVERPOPULATED! Phil. is churning out graduates year after year with little to no prospects of employment in the home country. I feel for Librea and his family, but what can he do? He gets screwed by his own government, his own people and the foreigners! What hope do the Filipino have when even their own government and compatriots betray them? I can only say, keep fighting Librea and may you succeed. You are indeed a modern day hero, but don't be a dumb modern day hero!

  6. OFW ang ginawang gatasan ng ating government…

    pg my problema biglang mawawala….

    pg my magandang balita biglang lumutang….

  7. isa lng nmn ang dapat sisihin dito ang system s bansa natin sa madalit salita ang Gubyerno ng mga mapagsamantala s bansa ntin desenyo nila ito eh,sa halip na punan nila ang kawalan ng trabaho ng my dignidad s bansa ntin,pilit na gumawa ng batas pr ang mamamayan tumulak sa labas ng bansa samantalng wla nmn tayung nakikitang pagbabago s mga patakaran nila,

    mga demonyo tlaga yang mula sa malacanyang pababa ppunta sa barabgay hall

    1. Actually , ang mismong nagpapatakbo sa ating gobyerno ay walang matibay na programa para sa ating mamamayang Pilipino. Sila ay makakapitalista at para sa mga dayuhan lamang. Walang pinuprotektahan kundi ang kanilang pangsariling interes. Halimbawa sa ating mga OFW's, sa physical pa lamang ng ating mga manggagawa, tayong mga OFW's ay ginagawang gatasan ng mga accrediated goverment clinic and hospital. Walang proteksyon ang ating mga manggagawa ukol sa pagpili ng mas murang clinic. Dapat kung saan mura ay doon tayo pupunta. Kagaya nalang ng St. Patrick, Arguilles, Diagnostis Doctors sa UN, atbp…ang mga iyan ay salbahe sa ating mga manggagawa. Ano ba ang naging action ng ating gobyerno ukol dito????

Comments are closed.