I am Joseph Ernest Estrella aged 28, I am married for 6 years and blessed with 2 beautiful daughter and one cute little boy (7 months), my wife gave birth while I’m here in Taiwan. I have 10 siblings back in the Philippines, 5 boys and five girls and I am the fifth one. My mother is a dedicated teacher in elementary school in Manila while my father stays at home due to some illness (hypertension).
I took up my college at System Technology Institute near our place, it’s a two year Dimploma course in Computer Science, unfortunately I stopped studying in 2004 due to lack of financial support and got married at early age. Back home I worked in a hotel at the recieving area as a porter and a steward in that hotel kitchen.
When my contract was finished I decided to apply oveseas, an opportunity came trough my friend so I applied immediately as a fisherman in Coastal Marine Safeway Manning Agency 2322 Singalong St. Corner Zapanta St. Malate, Manila.
I arrived here in Taiwan last December 7, 2008 from Taiwan Airport we headed to the hospital to have our medical with Jovin Agod. After our medical we brought to our brokers house there we met the secretary of our broker she is a Filipina named Ms. Ruth Ann. She also explained what are we going to do during our stay at that place, and she explained that the house of Susan Chuang is where all the worker stays during off from the water. Ms. Ann said nothing else regarding our work or when is the transport ship or fishing boat arrived, instead she told us to work in a KTV bar and clean the house of our broker. We are disappointed because we come to taiwan to work as a fisherman, we cant to nothing so we accept the fact that its not time for us to work at the sea.
While staying at Susan’s house we served and clean the KTV bar. We thought that its okay maybe the ship is not yet at the shore but when she said that we also clean the house of Susan’s brother as with no pay only a meal we are so dis hearthened. Again we cant do something because Susan command us to clean the two big hause of her brother.
During the month of January (2009) we talked to Ms. Ann for the wages we get, she says she will talk to our broker. Susan said we do not receive any wages or recoverable because we eat for free at her house and sleep for free, we said to Ms. Ann " as far as we know from the time we ride the plane our day is alredy paid" but the broker said we can do nothing. We endure it hoping that our ship will arrive soon, and on January 2009 we were able to join the boat. Before we going to work the secretary explained all what we should know regarding the work,the ship,the employer and with co worker, we will work for 7 to 8 months. The name of the ship that we should take is not the same with the one we signed in our contract,so instead of asking we just go with the flow rather than staying at the brokers house ang gain no money at all and not able to pay the debt i spent just to come here.. Still a few days before the ship go to the sea I went to my broker and ask for a copy of payslip but she says she doesnt have yet I also asked her how about my ARC but then again she refused to give it because of the reason that we dont need it during work because we are off from Taiwan.
Within the period of eight months we suffered the difficulty of our work. I’m also excited to go home because our broker will give us our salary, and when she gave our salary I am so disappointed because for eight months we received only $ 20,000. I asked the broker to explain why only 20,000 NT,she said its because of my salary deduction like brokers fee.board and lodging,medical, ARC, advance loan etc. We dont have any idea at all but we are begining to doubt. She said said she has sent me to the Philippines agency that we have advance loan. I do not accept that.
I mentioned to my friend and told to him my situation, he said there is an organization that helps foreign workers, he told me to come to TIWA (Taiwan International Workers Association) office located at Zhongsan, he said they can help our case. And thats why I seek help to TIWA, I told them my story and experience with my work and broker, they handle my case and filed a case against my broker though its not yet finished I put my trust and hopes at TIWA and I am so grateful for there help and effort in giving us what we need. So far my transfer paper is already released and now I am begining to look for a Job.