Dubai: Philippine Senator “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada on Friday gave away free air tickets to 30 Filipina “runaways” who had been sheltering at the Philippine Overseas Labour Offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The cases of the absconding maids have been resolved and they will now be reunited with their families, according to the labour offices.

Sen Estrada announced earlier he had initiated a fund to collect money with which to help Filipino workers in the UAE who become victims of abuse and maltreatment.

The senator is chairman of the Philippine Senate Committee on Labour, Employment and Human Resources Development and of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Labour and Employment. He is the son of former Philippine President Joseph Estrada.


“I will personally follow-up reports regarding a number of distressed overseas workers in the UAE, some of whom are reportedly maltreated and not paid by their employers,” Estrada said. He said others are said to have problems with their status in the UAE.

He said he is aware that there are at least 150 “runaways” in the UAE at present who need air tickets home.

One of the domestic helpers, Imelda Marcos, burst into tears when her name was called by Estrada as one of the recipients of a free plane ticket.

On Thursday, Sen Estrada met with Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour, to discuss ways to improve the working conditions of domestic helpers.

Estrada, who like his father is a movie actor, gave a free screening of his movie Katas ng Saudi to a group of Filipino community leaders and family members at a school in Al Twar in Dubai.