Joy Parafina
A screengrab from FB video showing Joy Parafina Image Credit: Joy Parafina/FB

Dubai: A welfare officer at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Dubai was suspended after allegedly insulting and cursing over the phone a Filipina who asked explanation where the food aid given by POLO came from.

In a directive issued on Friday, Philippine Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III has ordered the immediate suspension of Danilo Flores, a welfare officer at POLO Dubai.

The labour chief also ordered a swift investigation to determine Flores’ culpability for alleged misbehaviour in dealing with overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The investigation followed an incident that allegedly transpired on April 16 between Joy Parafina, a Dubai resident, and Flores.

Parafina recounted the incident on a Facebook post that went viral. In the video, an angry and distressed Parafina alleged that Flores abused her after she asked whether there is a receipt for the food packs being distributed.

Parafina said she is aware that the Philippine government has earmarked a $200 (Dh730) cash aid to Filipino expats affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

She inquired if the food pack, containing two bags of rice and several canned goods, is part of the relief package. She first asked staff at a local grocery where the food packs were distributed but the staff was not knowledgeable of the arrangement and advised Parafina to contact officers from POLO-Dubai.

Parafina alleged Flores blew his top and called her ungrateful. “Flores also used expletives Parafina said in her FB Live video.

Flores under investigation

Bello said Flores is suspended from the performance of his duties as Welfare Officer pending investigation of the incident.

The labor secretary also assured the public of DOLE’s continuing welfare and assistance programs for OFWs.

According to its website, “POLO serves as the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) overseas operating arm in the implementation of the Philippine labor policies and programs for the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare and interests of Filipinos working abroad.”