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DFA condemns death of OFW in Kuwait

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday demanded justice for the death of a Filipino migrant worker who was allegedly killed by her employer’s wife in Kuwait.

In a statement, the DFA said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. conveyed to Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh the condemnation by the Philippine government of the killing of the Filipina victim who was identified by labor officials as Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, who was allegedly beaten to death by her employer’s wife.

“She [employer] bashed her head. So I want the head of the employer’s wife who murdered their Filipina maid,” Locsin said, on his Twitter account.

Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Salem Al Thuwaikh has been summoned to the DFA yesterday to express the government’s outrage over the death of a Filipino domestic helper allegedly by her employer’s wife.

“The friendship between your country which gives our people the jobs they cannot find at home and our people whose faithful service make the life of your people easier depends on justice being done the murdered maid,” Locsin was quoted as telling the Kuwaiti ambassador.

“An eye for an eye, a life for a life.”

“I beg you give her justice. We will go after the Filipino recruiters and government officials who put her in harm’s way,” he said in a DFA statement.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment condemned the reported death of another Filipino worker in Kuwait.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Philippine government is offended over Villapende’s killing.

“The Labor Department is deeply saddened and outraged over the violent death of Filipino worker Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende in the hands of her Kuwaiti employer,” he said in a statement.

“The case is a clear violation of the agreement signed by both Kuwait and the Philippines in 2018 that seeks to uphold and promote the protection of the rights and welfare of our workers in the Gulf state,” the DOLE chief added.

At the same time, Bello urged for the immediate resolution of the death of the household service worker .

“The Department looks forward to the swift resolution of the case and that justice will be served to Villavende and her family,” he said.

The DOLE head also assured that assistance will be provided to the family of the Filipino worker.

“The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will provide burial and livelihood assistance, as well as scholarship to the family members of Villavende,” he added.

Villavende’s death happened while there is an existing memorandum of agreement between Manila and Kuwait City involving the welfare and safety of OFWs signed in 2018.

In February last year, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to impose a four-month total deployment ban to Kuwait due to the continued abuses and maltreatment of OFWs there, particularly the killing of Joanna Demafelis.

The ban was later lifted as the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments entered into an agreement on the deployment and protection of OFWs in the Gulf state.

In a separate statement, the DOLE, said it condoles with the families of the two Filipinos who died in the car accident at the Lucky Plaza Mall in Singapore on Sunday which also left four other Filipinos injured.

Meanwhile, labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines on Tuesday said that the agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait governments to protect Filipino workers is not working, following the death of another domestic Filipino worker in that country.

TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said the death of Villavende in the hands of her Kuwaiti employer was an obvious manifestation that the agreement forged between Philippines and Kuwait in providing conducive and safe working environment for our OFWs in 2018 is not working.

The Philippine government have no other choice but to send a strong reaction like it did last year in the wake of gruesome deaths of Filipino workers there by suspending immediately the deployment of Filipino Household Service Workers and organize their voluntary repatriation of workers from Kuwait, said Mendoza.

The Philippine government must compel the Kuwaiti government to immediately bring the perpetrators to justice and make them accountable for the death of our OFW, said Mendoza.

Mendoza said that the death of another OFW is proof that the Philippine government has not internally seriously addressed the dire realities why the victim and the rest of millions of OFWs chose to work abroad.

Domestic oppressive working conditions such as low wages caused by archaic wage-setting system, poor labor market access, lack of access to quality education and higher skills training and certification, epidemic-scale short-term contractual or Endo work arrangement, unattractive benefits, ineffective labor inspection system practices remains prevalent and dominant that leaves many Filipinos no other choice but bite the bullet and work abroad, Mendoza said.

Topics: Department of Foreign Affairs , Raymond Mendoza , Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh , Teodoro Locsin , Kuwait , Department of Labor and Employment
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