Press Release

Hotel jobs, sinigang na hipon waiting for Qaddafi’s kasambahays

A tearful, joyful homecoming, a steaming bowl of “sinigang na hipon”, and assured jobs in a well-known hotel in Cebu await Diana Jill Rivera and Mary Anne Ducos, two domestic workers recently rescued from the residence of Col. Moammar Qaddafy’s niece in Tripoli, Libya when they arrive in Manila within the week.

This was the announcement of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization that has been closely monitoring the case since February 2011. Former labor undersecretary Susan Ople, head of the BFO Center, said that several non-government organizations are also planning to host a thanksgiving dinner in honor of Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa who spearheaded the rescue of the two “kasambahays.”

Ople said she is in touch with Jane Ampeloquio of the Hotel Academy in Cebu which is also in charge of training programs for employees of Days Hotel. James Concepcion, president of Days Hotel, is willing to employ the two women in one of his hotels in Cebu City after they complete the required on-the-job training provided by the Hotel Academy.

When asked whether the two women were open to working locally at Days Hotel in Cebu City, Jenny Rivera, sister of Diana Jill, replied that both OFWs are excited about the job offer.

Diana’s father, Jaime Rivera, said he would no longer allow his daughter to leave the country to work abroad. He said that he almost fell off his seat while watching the evening news when he heard that her daughter was finally rescued. According to Jenny Rivera, the family is eager to treat Diana to her favorite dish of “sinigang na hipon.”

The Ople Center has made arrangements for the family of Mary Anne Ducos to travel from Isabela to Manila as the labor department continues to work on travel arrangement for the returning OFWs and Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa.

Meanwhile, the Ople Center and several other civil society groups like Kakkampi International, Filipino Migrant Workers Group, PSLink and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines have agreed to extend a hero’s welcome to Labor Attache Mustafa.

“He is a hero not only in the eyes of Diana Jill and Mary Anne but also to us in civil society because he practically risked his life just to get these two OFWs out of harm’s way,” Susan Ople explained.

Accompanied by an embassy driver and a Libyan friend, Labor Attache Mustafa was able to identify the residence where the two women were being held against their will by their employer after going back and forth to the area for ten days.

“Just to be sure that they had the right residence, he had to request Mary Jane to climb up the roof of the house and wave. The rescue was done while the rest of the household were still asleep and as soon as Diana and Mary Anne were in his car, labor attache Mustafa instructed the driver to proceed to the border of Tunisia,” Ople said, adding that she hopes that proper recognition can be given by the Office of the President to the courage and heroism demonstrated by the said labor official and his companions.

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