By Ana P. Santos and Sofia Tomacruz
Rappler Philippines | 10 September 2017
MANILA, Philippines – On a quiet February morning two years ago, Hajji took his place among the hundreds of Filipinos in lines that snake toward the gates of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). With luggage in hand and an envelope of documents tucked tightly between his arm and chest, he readied himself to leave his family.
Hajji had hoped this day would come. He’d been planning for it for quite some time. 6 months worth of constant back and forth from Bataan to Manila for paperwork and permits had secured him a job as an electrician in Doha, Qatar.
Working as a plumber for 8 years, Hajji left a stable but low-paying job in the Philippines on the promise of better pay.
But to get to Qatar, he had to pay a price.
“Bali nagbayad ako ng P41,900 kasi kailangan daw ng recruitment agency para puwede na akong umalis,” Hajji said. (I ended up paying P41,900 because the recruitment agency said it was needed so I could leave.)
To secure the chance to work abroad, Hajji had to scrounge for P41,900 to pay for all the fees assigned to him by his recruitment agency. The amount was nearly twice the monthly salary of about P23,800 he had yet to earn in Qatar as a worker for Megatec, a company that subcontracts mechanical and engineering work to construction companies.