January 24, 2020
CURRENT AFFAIRS

Some Filipinos Want Total OFW Deployment Ban on Kuwait

By EDD K. USMAN

Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910, Facebook: Science, Digital & Current Affairs

(SDN) — IMPOSE a total deployment ban of Filipino domestic workers on the Arab State of Kuwait.

An informal survey on GMA7’s Radio Station DZBB on Friday, January 3, 2020, elicited mostly calls for a total deployment ban.

Some listeners/viewers of the radio-television program expressed their opinion through a phone-in reaction in the wake of another overseas Filipino worker (OFW), domestic helper Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, allegedly murdered by her female employer in Kuwait.

Villavende’s brutal slaying recalls the grisly death of another domestic helper, Joanna Daniela Demafelis, whose body was discovered in a freezer in 2018. Demafelis was also murdered by her employers.

The Arab state is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an organization of oil-exporting countries. Comprising GCC are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

After the news of the killing of Villavende, Malacanang Palace expressed outrage at her killing.

“The Palace expresses its outrage over the death of Filipino worker Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, allegedly in the hands of her female employer who is now in the custody of Kuwaiti authorities,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement on Thursday, January 2.

Filipinos, total deployment ban, Kuwait, Philippines, OFW
FOREIGN Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and Kuwait Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Al-Thwaikh in a meeting at the DFA in Manila. (Photo from DFA chief’s social media page)

Her death greeted Filipinos who were in joyous mood celebrating the advent of the New Year.

Panelo emphasized that the tragic death completely disregarded the agreement signed by the Philippines and Kuwait seeking to uphold and advance the protect of OFWs’ rights in the Arab country.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) described as a “continuing violence” the incidence of killings of Filipino workers in Kuwait. The DFA is pushing for a transparent investigation and a speedy prosecution of the killers of Villavende.

The DFA leadership had also summoned Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippines Musaed Saleh Ahmad Al-Thwaikh as the department voiced its disgust at the killing.

In relation with this, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello has imposed a partial ban on the deployment of domestic helpers who are first-timers to Kuwait.

An ‘eye for an eye, a life for a life’

He later announced the expanded partial deployment ban to cover those already in Kuwait with expired contracts. Skilled workers are not covered by the ban.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. had called for equal retribution against Villavende’s female employer, the suspect in her killing.

“An eye for an eye, a life for a life,” he said in part of her Twitter post. He also met Althwaikh during which he sought justice for the OFW.

It can be noted that the “eye for an eye, a life for a life” kind of retribution is based on the Old Testament.

The Qur’an of the Muslims has this on equal retribution:

“We ordained therein for them ‘life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for him.” (The Holy Qur’an, Surah 5, Verse 45)

Villavende’s killer smashed her head; the DFA chief wants the suspect’s head smashed also.

Sandwiched between the February 2018 and December 2019  killings of Demafelis and Villavende, respectively, is another domestic helper, Constancia Dayag, killed by her employer in May 2018.

The death of Demafelis prompted President Rodrigo R. Duterte to impose a total deployment on Kuwait, which nevertheless was lifted in 90 days after the signing of the labor agreement.

As this developed, the Kuwaiti ambassador has declined Filipino journalists’ requests for interview to get his side, even during the case of Demafelis, a source at the Embassy of Kuwait said. (SDN)

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