MANILA – Senator Raffy Tulfo on Wednesday proposed a pregnancy test a day before the departure of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) to prevent incidents that will lead to untoward circumstances.

Tulfo was referring to the case of Jovelyn Tang Andres, who committed suicide in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) out of desperation after she was forced to take something to induce abortion.

Sampahan ng kasong kriminal dahil sa kanila ay may buhay na nagbuwis, pinapakain at nilalagyan ng gamot na pampalaglag hanggang sa nalaglag ang fetus. Binenta si Jovelyn paulit-ulit, na despair, nagpakamatay (Criminal charges must be filed, because of them a life was lost. She was forced to eat/drink something, resulting in abortion. They sold Jovelyn several times, she was despaired and commited suicide)," Tulfo said during the hearing of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

DMW Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople assured Tulfo that they will talk to the Ministry of Human Resources (MHR) of KSA as she also agreed to implement the order regarding pregnancy tests.

Tulfo said Tang was returned to Saudi-based Manawe Agency, the counterpart of Gulf Synergy Employment Agency after her employer found out about her pregnancy.

However, Manawe Agency did not report to the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), and instead, redeploy her to another employer.

DMW Undersecretary Bernardo Olalia said Gulf Synergy was suspended last June 2022 and was charged with violation against Foreign Recruitment Agency, adding that this coming October, DMW and the MHR will form a technical working group to come up with a resolution on the issue.

Meanwhile, Gulf Synergy president Arnulfo Barbiera said he has no knowledge about the case, saying he was not informed by the Manawe Agency.

Andres was reportedly recruited by a certain Emma Hernandez, who is set to leave for Saudi Arabia this Friday, Tulfo said.

In the absence of legislation, Ople said in their initial talks with KSA, they agreed that they will jointly blacklist agencies found to have violated existing rules. (Leonel Abasola/PNA)