Pahima didn’t deserve such a treatment


By: Susan V. Ople

She is only 22. Where were you when you were 22? Hopefully, not in a place where your female boss intentionally pours a thermos of boiling, hot water on your back. Pahima Alagasi also known by her nickname, “Candice,” is the Filipino domestic worker whose back was scalded by boiling water by her employer’s mother who was irate and impatient because her coffee had not been served.

Candice didn’t even realize that the mother of her male employer was behind her. She was bent over to pick up the lid of the thermos that fell on the floor, which was why the boiling water splashed on her back and legs. Because of the shock and extreme pain, the Filipino maid fell to the floor and pleaded for help. Her employer turned her back and walked away, leaving Candice crying and in pain. Three hours passed before she was taken to a medical facility. Her wounds were treated and dressed but no confinement took place. They brought her home, you see. They brought her home and still expected her to work and serve their every need.

You wonder where cruelty comes from. It comes from someone who believes that his or her life is worth more than that of a lowly servant. Wealth has value in the bank, but true wealth is the gift of life that only our Creator can give and take away. Can I describe to you where
Pahima comes from? She was born and raised as a devout Muslim, in a village known as Pikit in North Cotabato province. There is no electricity in her village. None since the day she was born. Her mother does not own a stove. They have no television. The entire family derives their income from a rice field that relies on rainfall and a nearby river for irrigation. Yet, that family loves Pahima so dearly. She was their treasure. That love was what compelled her to apply for a job in Saudi Arabia as a sacrifice so that she can send money to help her family.

I was with Fatima Alagasi, sister of Pahima, when the latter called. The young woman now under treatment for second-degree burns all over her back and legs, called up her eldest sister to apologize. She wanted her parents to know how sorry she was that she became a problem rather than a solution to the family’s woes. Fatima had to assure her weeping sister that everything was all right. That justice would be served. That the Philippine government will do everything to make sure that the case against her abusive employers will prosper.

The Saudi authorities are now investigating the incident and Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago will undoubtedly do everything to help the victim. Meanwhile, Filipinos all over the world are praying for Pahima’s recovery and safe return home.

I know about the honest, hard work that is second nature to Pahima and her family. There is beauty in the simplicity of life, as they knew it. Now that beauty is forever marred by this incident.





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