Go calls for transparency in Kuwaiti gov’t probe on death of Filipina worker

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020   •   488

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has called on Kuwaiti authorities to be transparent with their investigation into the death of another Filipina household worker.

The victim, Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, allegedly died at the hands of her Kuwaiti employer.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Go condemned Villavende’s brutal killing and called on Kuwaiti authorities to make sure that the perpetrators in Villavende’s case will be punished according to the fullest extent of their laws.

“Kinokondena ko ‘yung pagpatay kay Jeanelyn at despite the May 2018 agreement between the Philippines and Kuwaiti government, there are still reports of violence and abuses committed against our fellow Filipinos in Kuwait,” he said.

“Masakit na iniiwan ng mga kababayan natin ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay upang makapagtrabaho lang sa mga malalayong lugar at mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang kanilang pamilya. Mas masakit malaman na sa kabila ng kanilang sakripisyo, sila ay patuloy na naaabuso at minsan namamatay pa,” he added.

The senator also expressed his sympathy for the family of the victim as he vowed to provide assistance for them, particularly for the medical needs of Villavende’s father, with the help of the Malasakit Center.

“Nakikiramay ako sa mga naulila ni Jeanelyn. Asahan na kaisa ninyo ako sa paghanap ng agarang hustisya sa pagkamatay ng inyong mahal sa buhay.”

Go also called on concerned government agencies to coordinate in regard to the immediate repatriation of the slain OFW.

“Kailangang masigurado din na maibigay ng gobyerno at maging ng private insurance company ang lahat ng mga benepisyo para sa mga naulila ni Jeanelyn, katulad ng livelihood assistance, death and burial assistance, scholarship sa naiwang kapamilya at iba pa,” he added.

Citing Villavende’s case, Go underscored the need for a separate department to deal with all overseas Filipino workers’ concerns.

In July 2018, he filed Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.

The proposed measure aims to establish a Department of Overseas Filipinos to serve as the umbrella agency to specifically address all the issues and concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families, to afford them full protection, promote their full and just employment, mitigate the social costs back home, and serve as a channel to address OFW issues and grievances.

The measure further creates an Overseas Filipinos Assistance Fund to provide financial support to Filipino migrants in distress, inclusive of repatriation and provisions for life-saving funds in times of great emergency or distress, and provides training and livelihood loans for OFWs returning to the Philippines for good.

The bill also mandates the creation of “OFW Malasakit Centers” in all provinces and major cities to ensure prompt and efficient provision of services to OFWs and their families, such as acquisition of government permits, validation of overseas job offers, grievance and complaints desks and reintegration services.

Under current laws, OFWs need to go to different government agencies scattered in several departments and offices to secure their needed documents and present their other concerns, such as employment and technical education.

If passed into law, the measure is seen to help in curbing issues and inconveniences experienced by Filipino migrant workers and will also provide better protection for them.

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.

Former PH envoy to Brazil back in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 3, 2020

Former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro has returned to the country, several days after she was reported to have been caught on video mistreating her service staff inside the diplomat residence in the South American country.

In a statement on Tuesday, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go confirmed that Mauro arrived in the country late Monday night after receiving information from the DFA.

Mauro was ordered to return to Manila to face an investigation into her alleged acts of abuse after CCTV videos of her berating and maltreating her household helper were shown by a Brazilian media in October.

The Filipina helper has already returned to the country last week.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said a team has been formed to investigate Mauro and the circumstances surrounding the issue.

“The DFA is expected to have an impartial investigation, relying on facts and not influenced by public statements for or against the Ambassador,” Go said.

Mauro has yet to issue a statement.

Duterte OKs probe on PH envoy accused of mistreating staff

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to proceed with the investigation into a Philippine envoy’s alleged maltreatment of her service staff in Brazil, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Thursday.

“In light of the gravity of the allegations against the ambassador, the President has given the green light to proceed with the investigation of the official concerned, as recommended by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs,” Go said in a statement.

The DFA earlier said it needed the approval of the president to conduct a probe against Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro who was caught on CCTV maltreating her unidentified Filipina household service staff on several occasions.

Section 51 of the Foreign Service Act states that “Chiefs of Mission who are commissioned by the President as ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary shall not be investigated by the Board [of Foreign Service Administration] or separated from the service unless there is an express written directive from the President.”

“The President has always been firm – the protection and promotion of the rights, welfare and well-being of Filipinos overseas is a paramount responsibility of our government,” Go said.

“Our ambassadors are duty-bound to carry out this mandate, no questions asked,” he added.

Go further stated that the “impartial investigation will be carried out consistent with relevant provisions of the law, particularly the Foreign Service Act of 1991.”

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said a team has been formed to investigate Mauro and the circumstances surrounding the issue.

Mauro has been ordered to return home to face the investigation.

She has yet to issue a statement regarding the allegations.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.