A number of Filipina house helpers approached The Times to urge Kuwait authorities to intervene in reclaiming their cargos from forwarding companies in Kuwait after one and two years of not being delivered to intended recipients in the Philippines. Known only with names such as EZ , Eastern, The Filipino Cargo (TFC) and Samantha cargos, complainants claimed after their cargo boxes were taken from them after service charges have been settled, their calls have been ignored if not lied repeatedly each time they called to follow up. Many of these so called boxes have not been delivered for some in two years and others in months.
Nor, one of the complainants told the Times that she sent two boxes via EZ Cargo and were collected by an agent since December but later she found out that all phone contacts in the leaflets and business cards have been disconnected yet through some friends, Nor managed to locate the agent but her persistent calls were ignored.
“These agents are ruthless and heartless, we worked hard in order to save money so we can buy things for our families back home and this is the end result. I don’t even know how this agent can sleep at night in the midst of these miseries he caused us” complained Nor. Similar complaints were raised by Jocelyn, Kathlyn and Rose who all worked as house helpers.
According to Jocelyn, she was handed over a leaflet outside the premises of the Philippine Embassy by a cargo female agent who later was found out to be the wife of EZ cargo agent. Without much information about sending boxes back to Philippines Jocelyn tried their services but ended up with her cargo undelivered and for the past year. The house helpers have already asked for the assistance of their employers but to no avail.
Their complaints have fallen in the deaf ears of the agents. “My concern is that our boxes could have been sold already in the Philippines as what was aired in local news months back” said Jocelyn. Few months back an exposé by a local news network interviewed a local trader who bought cargo boxes from cargo companies most of which were sent by overseas Filipino workers to their families and that items in the box were sold to the public.
“This is just outrageous and these agents and companies have no conscience at all. I work as a house helper and I believe we are the easiest preys since we work inside the houses and have not much information as to choices but what we find outside the embassy premises. However, The Times have informed the Administrative Officer of the Philippine Embassy on the cargo companies mentioned in the complaints. Promises to return calls were made and investigate on the matter but no follow up reports have been done so far.
Bella, an agent of a cargo company, said that the delay on deliveries of the cargo boxes can last from three to six months but beyond these months are not only questionable but clear indications that the cargo company maybe a bogus forwarding office and that concerns need to be raised immediately. Bella explained that the delays can be caused by the cargo company not being able to fill up a container in time, or the agent withholds the cargo in their offices, lack of finances and in most cases problems with local brokers in the Philippines. Yet Bella admitted that such problems are often resolved and need not last more than six months.
Complainants urge Kuwait authorities to investigate and intervene on these matters and bring to justice the culprits. They also have been interviewed in GMA 7 News via phone patches to air their grievances towards the concerned companies. They all hope that a resolution can be made and that their boxes be returned to them along with what they have paid for. The Times found out that the TFC and Ezee cargos are both operated by a Filipino agent and assisted by his wife.
The Times have attempted to contact the numbers on the business card and leaflets but have all been disconnected. A couple of numbers were also handed over to the Times but amidst several attempts, calls were left unanswered. Photos of cargo agents and receipts have been received from the complainants.
By Ricky Laxa