Legislator calls for OFW quick response

A party-list legislator on Monday said the death of Jeanelyn Villavende, the domestic worker in Kuwait, could have been averted if there was a system in place to quickly look into reports of distressed overseas Filipino workers especially those who are in life and death situations.

Quoting media reports, Rep. Ronnie Ong of Ang Probinsyano said Villavende managed to seek help but not one from the government agencies that received her complaint had responded quickly enough to initiate a possible rescue or at least verify her actual situation.

“We must correct the inaction. There is a major shortcoming here. There is already a history of killings (of OFWs) in Kuwait, where there is a large concentration of OFWs. We should have been on the lookout.  There is recruitment agency, POEA, Embassy, the Filipino Center at OWWA. If only there is a quick (response) mechanism to check on complaints of OFWs like Villavende, she would still be alive,” Ong said.

According to reports, Villavende was beaten to death by the wife of her employer and was already dead when she was brought to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Manila shouldered the P500,000 hospital bill of a former overseas Filipino worker mother who was confined for almost four months in a hospital due to complications in her pregnancy.

UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Hamad Saeed Al-Zaabi said that the Emirates Red Crescent Society had extended humanitarian assistance to several Filipinos and would always be ready to provide financial assistance Filipino people in need of help.

“The ERC through the UAE Embassy in Manila will continue to uphold the UAE’s drive to be inclusive and will continue to expand its reach to provide humanitarian assistance whether it is for a community, a group or an individual, regardless of religion or ethnicity,” the UAE envoy said.

Al-Zaabi said that the ERC does not look at people’s color, culture or religion when it provides assistance, saying the humanitarian assistance is anchored on the legacy of tolerance and inclusiveness bequeathed to the UAE and its people by the late Emirates President and Founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.

“The ERC shelled out recently around P500,000 to ‘Rosa’ (not her real name), a young Filipino mother, and her child after the mother developed complications in her pregnancy,” he said.

The former OFW requested the ERC through the UAE Embassy for assistance after showing that her pregnancy and the life of her child was at risk because of a Threatened Preterm Labor.

The mother had to be admitted at a St. Luke’s Hospital for more than three months, thus the half a million hospital bills she incurred.

Al-Zaabi endorsed her request for assistance to the ERC to cover the significant amount of over P500,000 for the pregnant Filipina’s hospitalization and medical intervention and care management to ensure both the mother and her unborn child will live.

The ERC  had also provided P1 million financial assistance to a Marawi City male resident who incurred a huge bill for his repeated hospitalization. The UAE Embassy endorsed the request for assistance to the ERC which approved it.

Topics: Jeanelyn Villavende , Domestic workers , United Arab Emirates Embassy , Kuwait , Ronnie Ong
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