Expats from Philippines, 9 other countries returning to Kuwait to face new protocol amid COVID-19 spread

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2020   •   1347

MANILA, Philippines – Expatriates returning to Kuwait after visiting the Philippines and nine other countries will soon be required to undergo a medical examination and present proof that they are free from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a state authority announced.

In an advisory posted on Wednesday, the Director General of Civil Aviation announced the new travel protocol which covers all expatriates coming from the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Georgia and Lebanon.

The new travel protocol, which will take effect on March 8, requires expatriates to undergo medical examination and present certificates that confirms they are not infected with the virus before entering the Gulf state.

These certificates must be issued by health centers approved by the Embassy of State of Kuwait.  

“If there is no Kuwaiti embassy in these countries, they must be certified by the health authorities operating in the said countries,” the official added.

Expatriates who will fail to comply with the new protocol will be denied entry to Kuwait and deported to their country of origin “without the State bearing any financial costs” through the same carrier.

The airline company will also be fined for violating the order.

Kuwaiti citizens, meanwhile, are excluded from the procedure because they will be examined at the Kuwait International Airport.

The Kuwaiti government already suspended flights to and from Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Italy and Iraq due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections worldwide.

An entry ban has also been enforced for those who travelled from South Korea, Iraq, Thailand and Italy in the past two weeks.

Kuwait has reported 56 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 4.

DOJ completes guidelines on the arrest of health protocol violators

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has completed the guidelines in arresting violators of health and safety protocols.

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the department is ready to present the guidelines to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). He added that they will be coordinating with the DILG in a few days.

“The guidelines will not add anything to the substantive aspect. Only as to the procedure on arrest and detention until the filing of charges, if warranted,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has previously ordered the DOJ to draft guidelines to avoid any complications concerning the arrest.

This will also prevent overcrowding in detention centers.  Health and safety protocols will still be followed to avert the spread of the virus in detention centers.

“Fully aware of the complications that may arise from effecting arrests of persons not wearing face masks were required (such as the problem of congested jails or detention centers),” he added. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Sec. Locsin orders halt of blood money over death of Jeanelyn Villavende in Kuwait

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintains that the Philippine government will not accept the offer of P7.5 million blood money from the family of the employer of Jeanelyn Villavende.

Villavende was the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was sexually assaulted and brutally killed in Kuwait in December 2019.

In a tweet, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin ordered the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait to stop processing the blood money payout for Villavende’s demise.

Villavende’s female employer was sentenced to death for the crime.

Based on the law in the Middle East, the convict may offer the victim’s family blood money in exchange for his or her life.

Locsin wants Embassy officials to ensure that the Kuwait court’s sentence will be served.

The DFA chief said the Philippine government can and should provide for the blood money to help Villavende’s family.

Locsin warns anyone on the side of the Philippines who will attempt to defer the sentence.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte requested the Kuwaiti government to impose the heaviest punishment on Jeanelyn’s employers.

It can be recalled, as well, that this case prompted the Philippines to enforce a total ban on deployment of OFWs to Kuwait.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III supports Locsin that the government should provide for the family of Villavende.

Bello added that the government may also raise money similar to what it did to save the life of an OFW who was sentenced for the murder of his employer and the government was able to raise P30 million pesos as blood money.

“I agree with that para wala ng blood money kasi the blood money  does not give justice to the parents of Jeanelyn Villavende,” Secretary Bello said.

To date, the total ban of OFWs to Kuwait remains in effect due to continuous reports of violations such as nonpayment of salary, abuse, and employers who are taking the passports and cellphones of OFWs by force. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Raped OFW in Kuwait arrives home after eight years of court battle

Marje Pelayo   •   December 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipina domestic worker alias ‘Minerva’ finally arrived in the country on Sunday (November 29) after winning her case against a Kuwaiti policeman who raped her eight years ago.

‘Minerva’ rejoined her family after spending eight years at the Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center while awaiting the outcome of her case.

According to Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa, ‘Minerva’ was deployed to Kuwait by Zontar Manpower Services Inc. as a domestic worker in September 2006 but was later on transferred to work in a dress shop located in Farwaniya.

While her residence visa was still for renewal by her employer, she was caught by a Kuwaiti policeman in September 2012.

Instead of bringing her to the police station, she was driven to a dark desert in South Surra where she was raped inside the police patrol car and was stabbed in the neck and back.

‘Minerva’ managed to crawl by the roadside where she was found by a passing car and was brought to Mubarak Hospital.

Following two years of court trial, the policeman was sentenced to death in June 2014 by the Court of First Instance. The sentence was eventually commuted to life imprisonment by the Court of Appeals upon the appeal of the policeman’s legal counsel.

‘Minerva’ was awarded civil damages amounting to P3 million through the representative of the Philippine Embassy and Kuwaiti human rights lawyer Sheika Fawzia Salem Al-Sabah. 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III lauded the efforts of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and the Philippine embassy in Kuwait for successfully winning the case for ‘Minerva’ and bringing her home.

‘Minerva’ was repatriated along with 76 wards of the half-way house via Kuwait Airways.

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