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Sep 29th
Home Sections Womens Section Whatever Happened to Dinia Baliton, a Filipino Maid in Switzerland?
Whatever Happened to Dinia Baliton, a Filipino Maid in Switzerland? PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Women's Section
Friday, 07 September 2007 09:42

(A Special News Release by MIGRANTE Europe for the in December 2000)

Among the news that got buried because of the popular anger focused on the ouster of then Filipino President Joseph Estrada, was that of Dinia Baliton. She was then a 32-year-old Filipino domestic helper in Geneva, Switzerland.

On the night of Dec. 5, 2000, Dinia fell from the five-storey apartment of her employer, Theresa Paran, who is a Filipino diplomat attached with the Philippine Mission in Geneva. Dinia was attempting to escape from her employer.

According to reports, Dinia tied together a few of her clothing to use as a rope but this did not sustain her weight and she fell to the ground. As a result, she nearly lost her life. Her limbs, legs and back were broken.

Dinia was trying to escape, reports said, because her employer told her that she would be sent back to the Philippines for apparently demanding a higher salary, among other things. And probably because of her refusal to be sent back, she was allegedly locked up in the house.

Philippine and Swiss authorities in Geneva attempted to hide what really happened to Dinia, and the reasons why she attempted to escape her employer. They have deliberately prevented the media from looking into her case, but when Dinia's case was brought into the open, Philippine authorities in Geneva were quick to hold a "press conference."

And even before the proper Swiss authorities could initiate an open investiga-tion, Dinia's employer, Ms. Paran, was already defensive invoking diplomatic immunity.

Dinia's experience is a classic example of a Filipino woman forced under circumstances to work abroad to earn for her family because there are no decent jobs in the Philippines, and whose exodus is sponsored by the government's labor export policy. She now finds herself paralyzed and unable to work, after be-ing apparently exploited and treated like a slave.

That the source of her torment is also a Filipino, a diplomat, and additional reports say, is a relative. This makes Dinia's case even more a cause of concern for advocates and activists defending the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants.

The concern and anger that Overseas Filipinos have over Dinia's case stem from two fundamental common-sense issues: first, that no person in his/her right mind would attempt to escape -- jump out from a window of a five-storey building, and risk fatal consequences -- if he/she did not suffer from extreme exploitation and abuse.

Second, that not even the most self-serving bureaucrat or diplomat would invoke immunity when no open investigation of an obviously criminal case has been conducted and concluded, unless he/she is guilty or is an accessory.

Until now, despite the legal complaint filed against Theresa Paran by Dinia's lawyer in Switzerland, the Philippine Mission in Geneva remains as silent as the cows grazing in the Swiss Alps over the issue.

Dinia Baliton cries for justice. The Filipino community in Switzerland and in other countries in Europe must close ranks to support her and the legal case she filed.

MIGRANTE Europe demands that the Philippine government extend Dinia all possible legal, medical and financial assistance that she is entitled to as a Fili-pino citizen, as a migrant worker, and as a victim of abuse. It must ensure that Dinia's rights are protected and defended.

MIGRANTE Europe also demand that the whole facts of the case be brought out into the open, that the so-called diplomatic immunity that Dinia's employer enjoys
be suspended, and that if found culpable, Theresa Paran should substantially indemnify Dinia Baliton, and that she be barred from holding any public office forever.

MIGRANTE Europe, with due respect, calls on all compatriots and friends of the Filipino people in Europe and other overseas locations to support Dinia Baliton's quest for justice!

For more particulars please contact the MIGRANTE Europe, Postbus 15687, 1001 ND Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Telefax: (00-31) 020-4284521 and Email:

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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 October 2007 02:48

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