Charges filed on OFW death; Kuwait ban stays
While the government “welcomes” the filing of murder charges against the Kuwaiti couple for the death of household worker Jeanelyn Villavende, it will not lift the total deployment ban on overseas Filipino workers to the Gulf state, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday.
Autopsy reports indicated that the 26-year-old had been sexually abused before her death in December.
“The temporary ban will stay,” Panelo told reporters.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III told senators that Villavende’s employers have been charged for her death.
“That’s good,” Panelo said. “We’ve been demanding for [the sake of] justice that they be charged. We welcome that,” he said.
During the hearing, senators moved for a total and permanent ban on the deployment of Filipino maids in Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries implementing the “kafala” system, which allows employers to withhold the passport, wages and days off of their workers with impunity.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said Villavende’s murder should prompt the government to consider adopting a similar deployment ban implemented by Indonesia.
Prohibiting Filipinos from being employed as household helpers will not adversely affect the country’s economy, he added.
“We cannot help but think and feel that this is something about our national self-esteem, self-worth and self-perception, and how others perceive us as a nation and as a people,” he said.
Sen. Nancy Binay said it was important for the government to provide better paying jobs locally to convince OFWs to return home. INQ
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