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No word yet on employers of PH maid murdered in Kuwait, says envoy

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Rene Villa views the remains of Joanna Demafelis at the mortuary of Al-Sabah Hospital in Kuwait. Photo released by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The remains of the Filipino maid murdered in Kuwait are arriving in Manila on Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.

From Manila, the remains of Joanna Demafelis will be flown to Iloilo on Saturday, the DFA said.


‘Shocked and angered’

In a statement released through the DFA on Thursday, Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait, Rene Villa, said Kuwaiti authorities had yet to find Demafelis’ Lebanese employer and his Syrian wife.


Villa said Kuwaiti authorities were also “shocked and angered” by the murder.

Demafelis’ body was discovered last week in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait City.

She is believed to have been killed more than a year ago since her Lebanese employer, identified as Nader Assaf, and his wife left Kuwait in November 2016.

Demafelis went to work in Kuwait as a domestic helper in 2014.

On Thursday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he had recalled the welfare officer in Kuwait who had received information but did not take action on the case of Demafelis.

Bello, in an interview, said he recalled Welfare Officer Maria Sarah Concepcion because he was not happy with her explanation.

“The explanation of Ms. Concepcion is that there are too many work. That’s not a good explanation. If you can’t handle the job, come back to the Philippines,” Bello said.


The labor chief said he was still evaluating the explanation of Labor Attaché Alejandro Padaen, who claimed that he was not yet the one in-charge at the Philippine labor office in Kuwait when the case was reported.

“We will find out if his explanation is reasonable. Otherwise, he could also be a recipient of a welcome back card,” said Bello.

Both Concepcion and Padaen are assigned at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuwait.

Family’s complaint

The family of Demafelis earlier complained about the failure of Department of Labor and Employment personnel in Kuwait to attend to her case when they reported it to them early last year.

The case of Demafelis has prompted the Philippine government to ban the deployment of workers to Kuwait while also ordering the immediate repatriation of all distressed Filipinos in the Gulf state.

Meanwhile, the DFA said almost 1,500 migrants had been repatriated from Kuwait since Sunday.

The third batch of 925 workers arrived on Wednesday, mostly domestic helpers like Demafelis.

10,000 coming home

According to the DFA, 402 migrants arrived on Sunday and 116 more arrived on Tuesday.

Earlier, the DFA said it expected to repatriate 10,000 migrant workers who had accepted the Kuwait government’s offer of amnesty to overstaying foreign laborers.

The DFA said the returning workers included victims of abuse by Kuwaiti employers.

On top of shouldering the airfare and immigration penalties of the overstaying workers, the DFA will also extend a P5,000 cash assistance to them.

The expense will be charged to the DFA’s P1.2-billion assistance to nationals fund for 2018.

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TAGS: Global Nation, Joanna Demafelis, Kuwait, maid in the freezer case, ofws, Philippine news updates
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