It’s hard enough to leave your family behind so that you can support them financially; but for Filipino workers in Italy and 137 bus drivers in Dubai, the very jobs they left home for are now non-existent, thanks in part to a natural disaster and a not-so-natural misinformed (or perhaps insidious?) recruitment agency.
Easter in Italy tent camps
In the wake of Italy’s 6.3 magnitude earthquake that took place on April 6th, tent camps have been put up housing 33,000 Italians and foreigners, many of whom are overseas workers from Peru, Romania, and the Philippines.
“Julyn Macabante, a soft-spoken 26-year-old woman from the Philippines, arrived in Italy nearly four years ago and has since worked as a housekeeper for a psychiatrist and his wife. When the earthquake struck their large home filled with antiques and oil paintings, the couple fled to the home of their daughter, a lawyer living in Rome, taking along some of their earthquake-stricken friends.
‘They said they were sorry but that they didn’t have room for me too,’ said Macabante, who supports her family back home with what she earns in Italy. Now she lives in a large blue tent with a cousin and nine other people.
Still she considers herself among the lucky: the family stopped by the camp on Easter to check on her and have promised to help her find work with another family. She shares their sorrow as they too struggle to rebuild their own lives. ‘It’s a calamity. It’s understandable,’ she said.” (via AP via Mercury News)
Driven to live by a dumpsite
137 Filipino bus drivers recruited by CYM International Services in Manila and sent to Al Tomooh Technical Services in Dubai found themselves without buses to drive and places to live. On Easter weekend, Dubai-based Filipinos banded together to provide food and money to the stranded workers.
“The group that had arrived between January 29 and March 6, are currently staying in a flat near the Ajman garbage dump site.
Max Sumulong, 34, one of the victims, said last year CYM had offered him a job as a driver for Dh5,200 a month and he had given the agency 10,000 pesos (Dh1,000) as ‘processing fee’.
‘The agency had asked each one of us to take out a 150,000-peso (Dh11,418) loan from a lending agency recommended by them and made us sign undated cheques worth 405,000 pesos (about Dh40,000) addressed to a bank and the lending agency, payable in 15 months,’ he said.
Eliseo Maximo, who has worked for 11 years as a bus driver in Manila, said: ‘We’ve been collecting aluminium cans, selling them at Dh4 per kg in Ajman, just to have something to eat.’” (via XPRESS)
-Earthquake aftermath and Italy immigrants
-Press release on Dubai drivers by Blas Ople Institute
-Dubai-based Filipino reporter Jay Hilotin’s first article on April 2nd
-Driver photos via Fernando Gagelonia post, provided by Ares Gutierrez
Tent photo, Italy: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino