OWWA eyes raps vs Balbag’s Kuwaiti employer

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
OWWA eyes raps vs Balbagâs Kuwaiti employer
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MANILA, Philippines — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is looking into the possible criminal liability of the Kuwaiti employer of Filipino domestic helper Myla Balbag, who jumped from a building while escaping from her abusive employer.

“The report that she was physically hurt, that will be the basis of the complaint,” OWWA chief Arnell Ignacio said in Filipino in a recent radio interview.

Ignacio gave assurance that the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is extending assistance to Balbag.

“We cannot just let go of the fact that something untoward happened to our fellow Filipino,” he said.

Balbag was reportedly beaten by her female employer for watching TikTok videos on her phone.

Ignacio said the employer believed that Balbag’s action was an invasion of their privacy.

“It started from taking a video on TikTok, then snatching of the gadget ensued, then she decided to run away. She escaped through the window, thus the situation she is in now,” Ignacio added.

Balbag is now at the hospital with DMW and OWWA personnel watching over the OFW, who arrived in Kuwait a few months ago, according to Ignacio.

The Filipina worker sustained injuries, but the OWWA chief said she is not paralyzed as previously reported, although she needs to undergo physical therapy.

Ignacio said the government will repatriate Balbag as soon as she gets fit-to-fly clearance from doctors.

Upon her return home, Ignacio said OWWA would extend financial and other appropriate assistance to Balbag.

Police attachés

Stressing the safety and security of Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is eyeing to post permanent police attaches in the UAE.

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. discussed the possibility of posting permanent representatives in the Middle Eastern country during a meeting with Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Alfonso Ver last Monday.

The meeting held at the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi involved discussions on measures to protect the rights of OFWs, addressing crimes such as trafficking in person, human smuggling and other safety concerns affecting the Filipino community.

Also discussed during the meeting were the PNP’s plans of posting police attachés in the UAE as the government pursues its comprehensive and integrated program to address conflict and security against global threats.

Azurin also discussed improving emergency response and support systems for Filipinos in need.

“Our focus is on expanding efforts to address transnational crimes by improving coordination and communication with the international intelligence community,” he said in a statement.

“By considering internal security concerns globally, we can better respond to and prevent transnational crimes that may impact the country,” he added.

By working with foreign law enforcement agencies, Azurin said police attachés can help disrupt illegal gambling, drug trafficking and other cybercrime activities that may affect both countries and ensure that the welfare of Filipinos in UAE is a priority.

The PNP chief and nine other ranking police officials are in the UAE for the 24th Asian Regional Conference of the International Police General Secretariat from Feb. 6 to 11.

Azurin will present today updates on the situation of trafficking in persons and human smuggling in the Philippines. – Emmanuel Tupas



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