A lot of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are in the hands of bad employers in many parts of the world, but more particularly in the Middle East where many are not even given days off or allowed to rest for along time.
There are those who are not treated well, with their employers not giving them enough food for sustenance despite the many jobs they have to accomplish within the day. What’s worse, many are made to work very long hours, sometimes under the scorching heat of the sun. Others are maltreated.
This is particularly true in Kuwait and other countries in the Middle East. This is the reason why a lot of OFWs, mostly domestic helpers and caregivers, try to escape from their employers despite the consequences they could face for their actions.
Enter Jelamar Fuentes, a Pinoy taxi driver who took it upon himself to help rescue his fellow OFWs. Going by the handle ‘DA VE’ on Facebook, he lets these OFWs plan their escape when they could. They would set the time and date that he would pick the OFW up to bring to the nearest Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) or embassy for help.
But while Fuentes meant well, his actions were against the laws in Kuwait. Apparently, he thought he was doing nothing wrong as he wanted to make sure his fellow OFWs are safe but Kuwait has strict laws against workers who escape from their employers, even if they are allegedly not treated well. Those who aid these workers’ escape are also charged.
The taxi driver is now under the custody of the Office of the Domestic Welfare Affairs but will be provided legal assistance for the kidnapping charges he is now facing, said Mohammad Noordin Lomondot, Charge d’Affaires of the Philippines in Kuwait.
Fuentes does not regret his actions; he is happy that he was able to help these OFWs.