Total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait looms as officials wait for autopsy result on slain OFW

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2020 06:39 PM | Updated as of Jan 12 2020 01:37 AM

MANILA -- A total deployment ban of Filipino migrant workers to Kuwait might be imposed once again, as Philippine officials wait on the result of the autopsy conducted on a Filipina migrant worker, who was allegedly slain by her employers last December.

According to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III will wait on the autopsy result conducted by authorities to confirm Jeanelyn Villavende's cause of death before recommending a total deployment ban to the Gulf state.

The labor chief reportedly stressed that Villavende suffered greatly under her employers and this made him inclined to suggest a total ban for OFWs to Kuwait. However, Bello said they will still wait for the official result of the autopsy.

"Sabi ni Sec. Bello nang dumalaw siya sa pamilya ni Villavende, na kung makikita niyo 'yung autopsy, ay dapat nang i-ban muna ang deployment sa Kuwait. Talaga kasing pinahirapan si Villavende," Cacdac told radio DZMM on Saturday.

(When he visited the family of Villavende, Sec. Bello said you will agree that a deployment ban to Kuwait should be implemented if you saw her body during the autopsy. Because Villavende really suffered.)

Philippine officials had said the suspect in Villavende's slay was already in the custody of Kuwaiti authorities. They also imposed a partial ban on the deployment of OFWs to the Gulf state and have not yet lifted it, as of this writing.

In 2018, a Filipina migrant worker, Joanna Demafelis, was slain and discovered inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in the Gulf state.

President Rodrigo Duterte responded angrily, listing some of his demands to the Kuwaiti government on the treatment of Filipino domestic helpers.

The Philippines and Kuwait then figured in a diplomatic row after a video showing the rescue of distressed Filipino workers by Philippine embassy officials in the Gulf nation went viral online. This led to a labor deployment ban on the Gulf state.

The two countries settled their differences after both signed a deal to provide better protection for Filipino migrant workers in Kuwait.

- with a report from Henry Omaga-Diaz, ABS-CBN News