“Nanay Fedelina” successfully obtained her freedom after 65 years of being a slave of her invective employer. The poor old woman worked for a wicked family for four generations without receiving even a single cent.
The Beginning of her Suffering
Due to financial scarcity, the Leyte-born woman was forced to work as domestic for a family in Manila. Unfortunately, her employer is wicked enough to not give her salary even once. In the 1970s, the family decided to migrate to southern California, and they brought Fedelina along with them.
Upon settling in California, her employer immediately confiscated her passport and IDs. They also isolated her from her family to assure that she cannot ask for help or return to the country.
According to her, she had to serve the matriarch of the family, the children, the mother of the matriarch, and the four grandchildren. Leaving her without a choice, she had to do all the chores alone.
“Nag-alaga ko ng nanay niya, nag-alaga ako ng anak niya, tapos nanay naman niya, apat na apo ang inalagaan ko. Lahat yun ginawa ko ako lang mag-isa–nagluluto, naglilinis, namamalansa, namamalengke–ako lahat, kayang-kaya ko, hinahatid-sinusundo, dinadalhan ng pagkain sa eskuwela,” Fedelina said.
The wickedness does not end there as they let the poor woman sleep on the dirty floor with just a blanket to cover her thin frame.
“Hihiga ako sa sahig ang dumi dumi, butas-butas pa ang blanket ko. Salbahe silang mag-ina.” she added.
She was Saved
Due to her old age and excessive workload, she went malnourished and over-fatigue. She was rushed in an emergency room and the nurse attendant concluded that she was a victim of forced labor. The concerned nurse immediately alerted the authorities leading to her rescue.
It took several years before she completely received her independence. She received help from several agencies such as Pilipino Workers Center, Philippines Consulate and US Law to prosecute her employer.
January when the decision of the court was released. The trafficker was placed on house arrest and was obliged to pay a cash settlement to Nanay Fedelina. Despite everything she went through, Fedelina remains optimistic. She was hoping that others who have been suffering from their employer can also be free someday.
“Ngayon, maligaya na ako at malaya. Hindi na ako nakakulong, hindi na ako inaapi ng mga tao. Kaya kayo, lumaban kayo, ‘wag kayo magpaapi sa mga pinagtatrabahuhan nyo. Kailangan mag-ingat kayo, ‘wag kayo magpaapi sa mga taong nangaapi,” she said.