Total deployment ban to Kuwait approved
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government will stop sending Filipino workers to Kuwait following the violent death of household service worker Jeanelyn Villavende, according to a resolution approved on Wednesday by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and announced the same day by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).
The POEA has yet to release a copy of the resolution.
The deployment ban was recommended by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who also heads the POEA governing board, after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) autopsy report showed that Villavende was not just tortured but also sexually abused by her employer before she was killed in the Gulf state last month.
The POEA earlier this month imposed a partial deployment ban to Kuwait, which covered only newly hired household service workers.
The Philippine government last imposed a total deployment ban to the Gulf state in 2018 after Filipino migrant worker Joanna Demafelis was killed and discovered inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment. There are at least 262,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait, 60 percent of them domestic workers, according to Dole.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., meanwhile, opposed the total deployment ban to Kuwait, saying in his social media account that the ban would backfire because the Gulf state would somehow adjust to the loss of Filipino workers.
The only way to avenge Villavende, Locsin said on Wednesday, was to make sure her employers got the death penalty for her killing.
“I want an eye for an eye, 2, 3 Kuwaiti lives for a Filipino life that’s all,” he tweeted.
Locsin acknowledged that Kuwaiti authorities “acted swiftly” by arresting, detaining and arraigning Villavende’s employer and his wife.
If Kuwait, however, drags its foot on their criminal trial, Locsin said that would be the time for the country to impose a “total and permanent” deployment ban.
In contrast to the NBI autopsy report, the Kuwaiti government’s autopsy report did not mention signs of rape or past abuse, angering the workers’ group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, which said the “fake autopsy report” showed “a willful dishonest attempt of the Kuwaiti government to cover up the heinous crime” committed by its nationals.
—With a report from Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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