My Lords Her Name is Mariang OFW & She Begs Your Succor

[ Notes : We wanted to shoot the breeze about how our life had been affected by our preference for soft drinks over water, alcohol over water, and now coffee over water, especially as it relates to creeping middle age, but some things take precedence over everything else. Let it never be said, even for one minute, that this space ( regardless of how many or how few people actually visit or read it ) was not available to those in need of the same. We think the material below will be self-explanatory and, more importantly, the message self-evident. Should you find it worth the effort, please send & resend to others.]

The Hon. Benigno Aquino III

The Hon. Manuel Villar Jr

The Hon. Gilbert Teodoro

His Excellency Joseph Ejercito Estrada

The Hon. Richard Gordon

their candidates for vice-president and all other

serious aspirants to high public office

My Lords and Ladies :

IN NATURE AND ELSEWHERE, eloquence is usually an afterthought as one contemplates a plaintive cry for help. Yet there is something about a cry for help that touches the sensitive, that tickles the raw nerve, and squeezes the bleeding heart in all of us who profess to be members of humankind.

In our fallible world of infallible hopes, dreams and expectations, it’s bound to happen. Out of ten passports with work visas pasted on them, one will return with streaks of crimson blood on its pages, never to be used again. Out of ten seamen’s books issued from our shores, before too long one or two will be swallowed by the sea along with its owner, such is the uncertainty that befalls a wayfarer of the mighty sea. Out of a hundred migrant hopefuls seeking to become citizens of the world, one will be sent back in shackles, humbled by his/her legal misfortunes, or worse, languish behind bars for years and years in foreign, unknown lands without anyone knowing back home.

This election season, your time is precious and finite we know, swallowed up as it is by the frenzy of campaigning and legal solicitation of public votes and private support. I am only seeking a few moments of time to bring to you the plight of the person below, whose letter was smuggled out of her detention center and which, miraculously (relative to what it has gone through to reach your eyes), you will read shortly.

By way of background, a friend, herself an OFW, escaped a long stint at the same Sharjah detention center literally by the skin of her teeth if not for the heroic acts of friends and loved ones. However she was still interned at the said place for a month and the friendship she formed with its many inmates became one of the indelible (good) memories she carved out of the place.

Her letter, transcribed from her original handwriting, needs little translation. She originally intended for this letter to reach responsible consular authorities in the jurisdiction; however given the length of what she has had to endure, we can’t be faulted for thinking that she needs a wider audience now.

One more thought. Considering that most forms of the inmates’ communication with the outside world are considered verboten and never unsupervised, you will forgive her I hope if she foregoes with the niceties and omits the usual honorifics associated with your exalted positions :

Mahal kong sugo : Ako ang right hand ng boss ko lahat ng in and outs, legal and illegal sa akin nadaan bago sa boss naming. Lahat ng secret nila, lahat ng personal deal, legal or illegal sa akin nila pinagkakatiwala.

Natapos ko ang 3 years ko then nagrenew ako ng contract, nagchange management; Yung bagong boss Mr. Mohammad S at Mr. Rahman S, lahat ng mga deals nila sa akin din nila pinagkakatiwala, kahit anong bilin nila at gastos, personal or para sa company, lahat yon galing sa pondo at budget ng kompanya at lahat ng katiwalian nila tungkol sa pera sa akin nila pinadadaan.

Pinagbukas pa ako ni Mr. Rahman S ng account ng HSBC para maging dummy account. Ang mali ko lang ginamit ko ang account na yon nun nagapply ako ng visa sa France kaya ginawa kong and/or naming magasawa, pero dummy account yun ng boss ko. Lahat ng tseke gusto niyang ipasok duon niya pinapadeposit.

Nun magreresign na ako dahil kailangan ko ng mas malaking sweldo dahil lumalaki na ang anak ko sabi niya magantay ako ng isang buwan, dahil tiwala ako sa knila, sumunod ako after one week pinakulong na nila ko at sinabing nagforgery daw ako ng tseke, samantalang wala akong pinipirmihang tseke at lahat ng gingawa kong tseke, si Mr. Rahman S ang pumipirma, lalagyan ko ng details, amount, payee then siya ang maglalagay o magsasabe ng date tapos pipirmahan niya so paano ako magfoforgery eh siya ang pumipirma.

Nung gabi na yon dinala nila ko sa police station, sa office pa lang tinotorture na nila ako then ng dinala ako sa police hinarass at tinorture ako kaya ako nakapirma sa sulat at pinasulat nila yon sa akin at ang halaga ay 400,000 dhs (dirhams), di ko na maalala pa mga ibang nangyare dahil nagkakamemory loss ako.

Dahil yun pinasulat nila ay dhs 400,000 at sa unang mga buwan ko sa kulungan, humingi kame ng tulong sa embahada sa Dubai pero wala kaming nakuhang tulong, natapos ang criminal case ko sinampahan ako ng civil, natapos ang una then nun idedeport na ako nagbukas ulit ng civil case na katulad ng nauna na hanging ngayon ay naghihearing, 24 months nako sa kulungan (31 months sa Arabic calendar) at nagpapasalamat ako at nakilala naming si Mr. Nel ng migrante dahil sa wakas mula ng pinafollow up ako ng migrante, dinalaw at kinausap ako ng mga sugo ng embahada ng dubai (Ms. Lilibeth at Mr. A)

Ngunit nakakasama ng loob ng huling tawag ko at nakausap ko pa si vice consul Edwin M sinabihan pa niya ko iupdate ko at sila at kinokondena pa nya ko plus hindi niya alam ang nangyayari sa kaso ko bakit ganon, naiintindihan ko na madaming may kaso pero (since) ako ang may pinakamabigat na kaso sa Sharjah jail at ako ang pinakamatagal na sa Sharjah jail, di ba tungkulin nila na tulungan ako sa lahat ng aspeto (spiritually, morally, psychologically plus financially) noong araw na yun 03-02 humihingi lang ako ng update sa kaso pero nabaligtad sila ang humihingi ng info.

Sana po kagalang-galang na sugo, tulungan nyo po ako, alam ko po na may mga mali din po akong nagawa ngunit halos 3 taon na ako sa kulungan at wala pa ring linaw ang kaso ko, sabi nila dito pag di daw po ako nagbayad habang buhay ako sa kulungan, parang awa na po ninyo, maliliit pa ang tatlo ko ng mga anak, hindi ko na po kailangan linisin ang pangalan ko, ang importante po makalabas ako ng kulungan dahil sa halos araw-araw na nasa kulungan ako, unti-unting nawawala ang katinuan ko pati ang mga nangyayari kung hindi ko sinusulat nalilimutan ko, nagkakamemory loss ako plus para na akong nasisiraan ng bait.

Nawawala ako ng pagasa. Mahal na sugo, para na ninyong awa tulungan po ninyo akong makalabas ng kulungan kahit deport ako, makauwi lang. Hirap na hirap na po ako, hindi ko na po alam ang gagawin ko at habang sinusulat ko ito madami po akong gusting sabihn at isalaysay pero d ko na maalala, ito lang ang natatandaan ko sa nangyare, yung iba d ko na matandaan pagod na ang utak ko, sana po maintindihan ninyo ako at sana po tulungan ninyo ako ng totoo dahil wala akong ibang inaasahan, para na ninyong awa, tulungan ninyo po ako alam ko pong may mga pagkakamali din ako at nagsisisisi na po ako at hindi pa po ba sapat ang halos 3 taon na pagkakakulong ko at bakit po nila sinasabing habang buhay ako sa kulungan hindi naman po ako pumatay at hindi rin drugs ang kaso ko.

 Para na ninyong awa tulungan ninyo po ako bago ako mawalan ng bait.

( nothing follows. )

To forestall the aggravation of her delicate situation, any names and personal details in her narration have been shrouded ; however these may be furnished should any of you choose to extend any and all assistance from the Philippine government, which she richly and rightfully deserves. The original hand-written manuscript (and its authenticated photocopies) may also be furnished upon request.

The letter is complete and unabridged, unedited and kept consistent in its urgency. Though under a great deal of stress, the letter – writer, our sister Filipino and co-OFW is obviously lucid and crystal clear in her intent to regain liberty.

My Lords, her name is Myra Temprosa Ibuna, late of Manila, late of UAE and most recently of the Sharjah Detention Center, but her name might as well be Mariang OFW. She is Everywoman, and she humbly begs for your succor. Blood as Pinoy as yours and mine flows through her veins, and like you and me, she desires only the most basic elements of existence : life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So far, the system, her employers and our government, via its diplomats in a cold and hostile land, have let her down wretchedly.

Please don’t fail her again.


One thought on “My Lords Her Name is Mariang OFW & She Begs Your Succor

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review | YLBnoel's Blog

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