Lalane Fontanilla Balcorta, a domestic helper rescued in Jordan after 19 days without food
Lalane Fontanilla Balcorta, 32-year-old native Filipina of Alaminos City, Pangasinan and a domestic helper was locked up for 19 days without food when her employers’ family members left for Iraq, leaving her under the care of her employer’s brother.
“Hindi po niya ako pinapakain at ikinakandado ang bahay kapag umaalis siya. Mabuti po at may mababait na kapitbahay na inaabutan ako ng ilang piraso ng pagkain kapag wala ang kapatid ng amo ko,” she said.
Lalane Fontanilla Balcorta found the courage to appeal for help on Monday and posted a message in the “Taga Alaminos Pangasinan Ka Kung…” Facebook page.
Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, was informed of the domestic helper’s predicament through an appeal for help posted in the Facebook page.
Braganza opened a line of communication with Balcorta through her Facebook account and advised her to download Yahoo Messenger “chat” application in her ward’s computer to establish a better way of communication.
Domestic Helper located by White Towel
During their video chat, Braganza tried to extract information from Balcorta on how Philippine authorities in Jordan can help rescue her.
“I asked Lalane to look outside the window and describe to me the buildings and other possible landmarks in the area that could help Philippine authorities locate her whereabouts,” Braganza said.
“I also advised her to tie a white towel in a floor mop and hoist it outside the window so that rescuers would know her exact location,” the mayor added.
With those tidbits of information, Braganza called up the Philippine embassy in Amman and was able to talk to Consul General Emmanuel Fernandez.
Consul Fernandez then formed a team from the Philippine embassy that coordinated with Amman authorities which led to the successful rescue of the domestic helper at around 11 p.m. last Monday (Philippine time) and subsequently turned over to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO).
Balcorta, a mother to twin daughters, informed Braganza that she arrived in Jordan four months ago to work as a domestic helper. Aside from doing household chores, Balcorta was also instructed to serve as a nanny to her employers’ child.