A non-government organization has urged Congress to launch an inquiry into the recruitment agency that processed the employment of slain overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joanna Demafelis in Kuwait.
Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, said that a legislative inquiry should be in place to determine whether or not Demafelis’ recruiter—Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Global E-Human Resources Inc.—should be held liable for her death.
Ople said that monitoring Demafelis’ whereabouts came to a “dead end” when the license of her recruitment agency was revoked by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
“‘Yung takot ko, baka may pangalawa o pangatlong Joanna dahil lang sa walang malapitan ang pamilya dahil sarado na ang ahensya,” Ople said in a news forum on Saturday.
“Madalas namin na nae-encounter na kapag na-rescue namin, at naibalik namin dito, (tinatanong namin) ‘Alam ba ng ahensya niyo ‘yung case?’ Ang sasabihin, ‘Hindi na po operational ang lisensya ng ahensya,’” she said.
Ople said that Congress should look into the gap that may have led to Demafelis’ demise.
“Ang hinihingi ko sa Kongreso, Senate man iyan o House, imbestigahan din ‘yung aspeto na ito. ‘Di lang ‘yung pinatay, tinorture, kundi yung record of deployment niya. Kung maaari na ipatawag din ‘yung may-ari ng recruitment agency (para malaman) kung nung sinara ba sila, mayroon bang transition o turn over phase,” Ople said.
“(Ito ay) para at least alam ng POEA at ng OWWA na ‘Ito ang mga workers namin. Isinara niyo kami, kayo na ang mag-monitor.’ Para malaman kung may ganun bang mechanism,” she said.
The labor migration advocate said that what happened to Joanna may also happen to other distressed overseas Filipino workers whose contracts were processed by a recruitment agency that is no longer operational.
“We have to address this gap. Once the recruitment agency’s license has been canceled, who in government should take over in monitoring the conditions of the workers that the recruitment agency had deployed?” Ople said.
Demafelis was murdered and stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait. The discovery of her death prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to order a total deployment ban of OFWs to the Gulf State. /jpv
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