Sunday, September 23, 2018
Close  
  • share this

NGO: Demafelis’ case trigger for change

/ 07:08 AM February 18, 2018

Ads like this, posted on a recruitment office on Mabini Street in Manila, lures Filipinos to Kuwait. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

A nongovernment organization (NGO) helping overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) cope with cases of abuse and illegal recruitment appealed for a new law that would help bring to justice perpetrators of abuses and killings of OFWs, saying the killing of Joanna Demafelis should serve as a wake-up call.

Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, said the case of Demafelis, who was found dead in a freezer in her employer’s home in Kuwait, raised all the red flags on lack of protection for OFWs.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lost contact

Demafelis, according to Ople, was recruited by Our Lady of Mount Carmel Global E-Human Resources Inc. and deployed in 2014 with a one-year contract.

But when the agency was shut down in 2016 for violations of recruitment laws, Ople said relatives and government officials lost a means to monitor the whereabouts of Demafelis.

“This has to be addressed,” said Ople.

In Demafelis’ case, Ople said there was finger-pointing as to which government agency should monitor and track her whereabouts.

Any investigation on Demafelis’ killing should include a probe into her employment history to show how she ended up with a Lebanese employer and his Syrian wife, now suspects in Demafelis’ killing.

Trigger

“Most Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, have the ‘kafala’ system where the employer is the sponsor of their visa,” said Ople. “How stringent are we in screening foreign employers?”

“In the same way that the execution of Flor Contemplacion in 1995 led to the enactment of the migrant workers law, then let Joanna’s death open the doors to meaningful reforms in how we deploy and protect our workers,” Ople said. Contemplacion was executed in Singapore for killing a fellow Filipino.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Senate on Wednesday would open a probe into Demafelis’ death and the government handling of her case.

The probe follows the filing of two resolutions by Senators Nancy Binay and Manny Pacquiao.

In her resolution, Binay said “countless deaths and unceasing maltreatment” of OFWs required action by the Philippine government, including the Senate. —With a report from Jocelyn R. Uy

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, Joanna Demafelis, Kuwait abuses of OFWs, Susan Ople
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2018 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.