The DFA said the continuing incidents of violence and abuse of Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait violate the spirit of the agreement signed in May 2018 that seeks to promote and protect their welfare.
Twitter/DFA Philippines
Top Kuwaiti lawyer tapped for Villavende case
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has commissioned a top-notch criminal lawyer in Kuwait to pursue the case against the employers of slain Filipina household service worker (HSW) Jeanelyn Villavende.

“An eye for an eye, a life for a life,” the DFA said, referring to the case of Villavende, whose remains arrived in Manila on Wednesday.

Villavende’s employer and his wife, the alleged perpetrators, remain incarcerated in Kuwait.

“The DFA will continue to provide legal and other appropriate assistance to the family until justice is served and perpetrators are punished,” the DFA said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. summoned Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh to protest “the seeming lack of protection of our domestic workers at the hands of their employers” and called for “complete transparency” in the investigation of the case and the “swift prosecution of the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”

The killing of Villavende, the DFA said, is a violation of the agreement signed by the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments in 2018 for their protection.

The DFA said the continuing incidents of violence and abuse of Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait violate the spirit of the agreement signed in May 2018 that seeks to promote and protect their welfare.

The clamor to impose a total ban in deployment of Filipino HSWs to Kuwait, meanwhile, is steadily gaining ground while the Philippine government awaits the formal filing of charges against Villavende’s employers.         

The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) formal labor and migrants workers sector yesterday gave its full backing to the calls to expand the deployment ban in Kuwait.

“Until preventive measures have been adopted by the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments that will ensure and guarantee the promotion and protection of domestic workers’ rights and welfare, a total ban must be imposed,” NAPC labor said in a statement.

NAPC noted that aside from Villavende, several other Filipina HSWs were killed while working in Kuwait. In 2018, NAPC said, Joanna Demafelis’ killing led to a diplomatic crisis and eventual forging of a memorandum of agreement for the protection of HSWs to be employed in Kuwait.

Labor officials, however, admitted that there were lapses in enforcing the labor agreement as the Kuwaiti government insisted on recognizing only the existing standard employment contract for all foreign HSWs.

NAPC said the government should review and renegotiate the 2018 agreement on the employment of Filipino HSWs.

“Live-out arrangement, instead of the usual live-in arrangement for domestic workers should be included, and require employers to provide for their monthly housing allowance,” the group suggested.

The labor group said joint and solidarity liabilities of recruitment agencies of origin and destination countries should also be included in the new agreement.

It added that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration must also strictly implement the bond deposit requirements, including that of foreign recruitment agencies, for compliance of awarding of monetary liabilities and to standardize domestic workers’ contracts according to the International Labor Organization Convention No. 189 and other similar international instruments that promote decent work.

The NAPC labor also asked the government to provide full support to the families of the slain HSWs until justice has been served.

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