By Benjie Lim Vergara
FINALLY after four years of trying to return to home, Pahima Alagasi, a 26-year old Filipina domestic helper, was repatriated on Friday from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where she reportedly was scalded by her sadistic employer.
Pahima, who arrived via Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR655, was accompanied by Philippine Ambassador to Riyadh Adman Alonto. She was met at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by ACT-OFW Party List Representative Anicieto Bertiz 3rd, Susan Ople of the Blas Ople Overseas Labor Office, and the representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
According to Alonto in an interview with reporters, the Pikit, North Cotabato native thanked the Philippine government for helping in the resolution of her case. He added that Pahima was also so grateful to Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif and the government of Saudi Arabia for facilitating her exit from the Kingdom.
“Finally, after four years, Pahima will be able to embrace again her children whom she left behind in Mindanao more than four years ago,” Alonto said.
However, Bertiz said, Pahima will first have to pay a courtesy call in Davao City this Saturday to President Rodrigo Duterte, who asked for her return when he met with Saudi Prince and Interior Minister Abdulaziz in Malacañang last March 19.
It will be recalled that Pahima was only 22 years old and barely two months on the job when her employer allegedly poured boiling water on her scalding her back, neck and thighs forcing her to seek treatment in a hospital. She then run away and sought shelter in the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
She also filed a maltreatment complaint against her unnamed employer but the Saudi judge dismissed it after she allegedly failed to prove her accusation. In retaliation, the employer filed false accusation and absconding charges against Pahima which prevented her from returning home in the last four years.
According to Pahima, she accidentally dropped the lid of a thermos while preparing coffee for her employer. Her irate employer then seized the thermos and poured its contents on her as she bent down to pick up the cap.