OFW succeeds in using Facebook Live to seek help; now on her way home from Iraq

December 26, 2017 - 7:05 PM
Alice Soriano Aguilan (left) is brought to the Baghdad International Airport so she can return home. Photo from the Philippine Embassy in Iraq

MANILA – An overseas Filipino worker who used Facebook Live to call for rescue after she was assaulted by her employer’s male relative has been rescued and is now safe and on her way back home.

This is according to a post on the Twitter account of the Philippine Embassy in Iraq on Tuesday evening, which read, “Three days after her frantic call for help, Alice is now at #Baghdad airport on her way home to the #Philippines. Before she left @PhilippinesIraq she received call from @CayetanoKuyAlan (Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano) who checked on her condition.”

Alice Soriano Aguilan used Facebook Live on December 22 (according to the timestamp on the video) to stream her eight-minute call for help. The video shows her weeping and narrating how her employer’s male relative beat her up and strangled her.

She also turned her camera on the man, who appeared to have been praying for part of the video, as he was kneeling on the floor.

Once he stood up, he charged at her, throwing things at her and kicking her while she continued to record, wailing all the while. A younger man appeared to stop him, putting himself between the two, but the employee’s relative returned and made slashing motions at his throat.

The Philippine Embassy in Baghdad had tracked Aguilan and rescued her within 15 minutes after she streamed her video, which had gone viral and was shared over 6,100 times.

She later recorded another video, this time from the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, where she thanked those who rescued her.

“Basta minamaltrato kayo, ‘wag kayong mag-atubiling humingi ng tulong. Magtiwala po kayo sa embassy (If you are maltreated, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Have faith in the embassy),” she said. “Safe na po ako. Safe na safe po (I am now safe. Truly safe).”

On Twitter, Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato said that, like many other OFWs in Baghdad, Aguilan did not know her exact address. She was able to send photos of landmarks around her, which was how she was found.

He added that the embassy regularly chats with Filipinos in Iraq through Facebook to see how they are.

“Our embassies and consulates all over the world are ready to assist our kababayans in distress wherever they may be,” Cato said on Facebook. “That is why it is important for any Filipino traveling out of the Philippines to have the emergency contact details of the embassy or consulate in their country of destination. Just call us and we will be there.”