Just this month, more than 100 Overseas Filipino Workers were repatriated back to the Philippines. They might not have the hundreds of thousands of cash but they have with them an inspiring story that taught them something so priceless – the courage and strength that they portrayed amidst the darkest points of their lives.
Cory Marcelo is one of the OFWs repatriated to the Philippines accompanied personally by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III. She had suffered a severe spinal injury and doctors warned her that her mobility will suffer.
However, Cory believes in the power of prayers.
“Sabi ng doktor hindi na ako makakalakad pero himala po walang imposible sa Panginoon, nakalakad po ako,” Cory confessed.
Cory was trying to escape from the person who detained her but fell from the 3rd floor of a building.
According to Cory, she started working for her Arab employer in August 2018. However, she was soon sold to a ‘fake police’ in May 2019.
“Kaya ko po masasabing pekeng pulis siya kasi ang uniform po sa Saudi Arabia ng mga pulis malaking uniform po, ang sakanya po naka-skirt siya…Marami siyang tattoo,” Cory said.
Cory was taken to the third floor of a building where she saw other Filipina confined inside. They were all seven inside. One Filipina said that they were detained inside for five months and they cannot escape because the door is always locked.
“Inakyat niya ‘ko sa third floor, nakita ko po dun yung mga kababayan nating Pinay, pang-pito po ako. Ni-lock kami sa room. Ang sabi ng mga kasama ko, binibenta daw sila don, five months na silang nagtiis do’n. Hindi sila makatakas kasi nila-lock yung room,” says Cory.
After five days, Cory came up with a plan to escape. She tied blankets and tried to escape through the window of the apartment.
“Nakalabas na po ako sa bintana, nakabitin na po ako, may pumasok sa room…sa kalagitnaan po naputol po yung kumot, kaya bumagsak po ako. Ako lang po yung nakatakas,” says Cory.
When she landed to the ground, she felt extreme pain but Cory gathered all her courage to fight back the three men who started chasing her. Luckily, a young Arab man helped her and called the police.
“Pinilit kong lumaban kahit tatlo sila. At hindi lahat ng Arabo masama, kasi ang tumulong sakin…binatang Arabo po, tumawag siya ng pulis kaya nasugod po ako sa ospital,” Cory added.
In the hospital, the doctor confessed that she will never be able to walk due to the severe spinal injury she acquired.
“Actually sabi ng doktor hindi na ko makakalakad pero himala po walang imposible sa Panginoon, nakalakad po ako,” says Cory.
Cory was sheltered at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh after her release from the hospital where she was confined for one month. After staying at the shelter for three months, she was able to board a flight back to the Philippines.