Filipino media celebrated Lebanese court ruling condemning Lebanese woman for beating her Filipino maid following the publication by the Filipino Department of Foreign Affairs of a press release which named (for the first time) Fayrouz Fayez as the women sentenced to prison.
The Global Nation Inquirer declared that "justice came after three years to an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) after a Lebanese court convicted her employer for abusing her."
In a radio interview, Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon Gilberto Asuque said the Philippines is still waiting for Lebanon to approve a law on the protection of foreign workers. “There is no law protecting Filipinos in Lebanon. Their labor laws only benefit the Lebanese. They saw that they are lacking in that area so there are now proposals to create a law for the protection of migrant workers. We will let Lebanon work on that internal matter,” Asuque said in Filipino.
The following is the Filipino DFA press release.
December 18, 2009 by DFA-PISU
The Philippine Embassy in Beirut reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on the conviction of a Lebanese employer for the abuse of Filipino domestic worker, the first in the history of Lebanon.
Fayrouz Farez was sentenced last December 9 by a Lebanese court to 15 days in prison, US$34 in court fines, and US$7,200 in compensation to Ms. Johnalyn Malibago.
“The Embassy views this case as an important legal precedent in Lebanon, being the first conviction of a Lebanese employer for the abusive treatment of a migrant worker, who significantly happened to be a Filipino,” Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Mohd. Noordin Pendosina N. Lomondot said.
During the Lebanon-Israel crisis in 2006, Welfare Officer Mario Antonio rescued Ms. Malibago from her Lebanese employer who was beating her up as she tried to escape Farez’s car around 200 meters away from the Sassine Evacuation Center in Beirut. Mr. Antonio is a Lebanese employee of the Beirut office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and a local volunteer at the evacuation center.
Mr. Antonio discovered bruises on Malibago’s body. She was immediately brought to the hospital for treatment by then Labor Attaché Glenda Manalo and another Welfare Officer from Riyadh.
The Embassy had coordinated with the Caritas Migrant Center, an international NGO branch in Lebanon specializing in the welfare of migrant workers, mostly women, for filing and pursuing the case against Farez.
“It also serves to affirm that many Lebanese are working hard for the recognition and protection of the rights of migrant workers, and that the efforts of human rights groups has begun to take effect in Lebanon’s judiciary,” Chargé d’Affaires Lomondot said.
The Philippine Embassy official also expressed hope that the case would push the Lebanese government to enact laws and regulations to protect the rights of migrant domestic workers.