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Kuwaiti government vows to track and arrest OFW Joanna Demafelis’ murderers

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — At three in the afternoon local time in Kuwait, the remains of Joanna Demafelis was flown back to the Philippines.

The cadaver of the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) will arrive in Manila on Friday and will be sent home to her family in Iloilo on Saturday.

Demafelis was the Filipino migrant worker found dead in a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.

On Wednesday, Philippine ambassador to Kuwait, Rene Villa, visited the Al-Sabah Hospital to ensure that the lifeless body of the Filipina had been prepared.

According to Ambassador Villa, the officials of the Ministry of Interior of Kuwait vowed to do all it can to capture the murder suspects,  a Lebanese national and his Syrian wife — former employers of Demafelis.

“Na-shock din ang buong Kuwait sa krimeng ito at matindi ang galit nila sa nangyaring ito at sana nga ay mahuli na, sa Lebanon man o sa Syria ang mag-asawang ito,” said Villa.

(The whole country of Kuwait was also shocked after learning about the crime. They are angry with what happened. We are hoping for the immediate arrest of the suspects whether in Lebanon or in Syria.)

In the Philippines, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) is seeking the conduct of an investigation into alleged negligence by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in connection with the death of the Filipina migrant worker.

According to one of VACC’s lawyers, Atty. Manuelito Luna, the family of the murdered OFW had sought the group’s help.

Luna revealed that the family had been seeking help from the POEA and OWWA since 2016 due to the abuse being experienced by Joanna in the hands of her employers.

But he claims the two government agencies had ignored the complaints of Joanna’s family.

“Pwede nating maligtas si Ms. Demafelis. Hindi nailigtas dahil pinasa pasa yung complaint ng pamilya. Kung ganito po ang treatment ng ating mga opsiyales sa POEA or OWWA dapat magbalot balot na sila,” said Luna.

(We could have saved Ms. Demafelis.  She was not rescued because these two agencies kept passing her family’s complaint onto someone else time and time again. If this is the quality of treatment being given by our POEA or OWWA officials, they should start packing.)

The group has asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to investigate the issue. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue


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Acquitted Pinay in UAE arrives home

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Overseas Filipino worker Jennifer Dalquez with her parents

MANILA, Philippines – Jennifer Dalquez, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was sentenced to death in 2015 in the United Arab Emirates but later acquitted of the murder of her employer, finally arrived home in the Philippines on Friday (November 2).

Dalquez was acquitted after the Philippine Embassy appealed her case.

On Thursday (November 1), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in a statement commended the efforts of the Philippine Embassy for saving her from death row.

Dalquez is a native of General Santos City. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)


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Revised SSS charter promises expanded benefits for members

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018


MANILA, Philippines — The bicameral conference committee has recently approved the revised charter of the Social Security System (SSS) which promises expanded benefits for its members.

The new SSS charter will provide compulsory coverage to overseas Filipino workers (OFW), and increase its loan allotment such as salary loan and retirement benefits.

The measure will also have a lower penalty for overdue contributions from three to two percent. It also promises financial assistance for two months, amounting to half of the monthly salary, for its members who lost their jobs.

“Yung mga nawawalan ng trabaho dahil for example, kumpanya na lumilipat sa ibang bansa or nagsara ang kumpanya dahil nagkaroon ng kalamidad, dapat matulungan natin yung mga empleyado doon na mamuhay o magkaroon man lamang ng supplemental income habang sila ay naghahanap pa ng mapapasukang panibago,” said SSS Media Affairs AVP Luisa Sebastian.

Among those who are looking forward to avail of the SSS unemployment insurance are contractual workers, Mirasol Salvante and Raffy Malacad. They said this would help them sustain their needs while they look for another job when their six-month contract expires.

“Kung walang budget pa mag-aantay. Pahinga muna ganun…mag depend ka ulit sa pamilya mo,” said Salvante.

“’Pag nawalan ng trabaho wala ka agad maasahan na makukuha kasi hindi regular,” said Malacad.

The SSS, however, clarified that not all active members will benefit from the proposed policy.

“Yun ang magiging problema natin, actually kung hindi ka regular na nagbabayad sa SSS, naaapektuhan yung iba mong benepisyo sa SSS,” said Sebastian.

In order to strengthen their fund, the SSS would have to hike the monthly contribution of its members. Under the proposed law, the 11% monthly contribution will increase by 1% starting next year, and gradually hike up to 15% by year 2025.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, meanwhile, welcomes the new SSS charter. However, they are proposing some amendments in its provisions.

“Ang aming panukala ay dapat 6 months na bigyan ng unemployment insurance at yung 6 months na yun ay sapat na panahon para makahanap ulit ng trabaho yung ating mga miembro ng SSS,” said TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjunsay.

The group added the agency should also strictly monitor factors that might affect its operations such as the status of its investments, fight against delinquent employers and giving of large bonuses to its employees.

The Social Security Act of 2018 awaits President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature before officially becoming a law. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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PH Embassy in Russia reports rise in OFW voters registration for 2019 polls

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, September 28th, 2018

RUSSIA — 500 more Filipinos working in Russia were added to the list of overseas absentee voters following a series of voters registration held in Moscow. An on-site registration is also being held in Yerevan, Armenia.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta attributes the increase in registrants to rising population of Filipinos in the country, among other factors.

“Ang isang factor po ay dumami ho ang Filipino sa Russia. Lumaki po ang population natin dito mga Filipino, so galing sa Pilipinas at sa iba pang mga bansa tapos ang tingin ko rin nakikita ko ang mga Filipino talagang gustong magparticipate sa ating political process,” said Ambassador Sorreta.

(One factor is the rising population of Filipinos in Russia. I can also see how much the Filipinos want to participate in the political process.)

Earl Lynne Divinagracia, a Filipino migrant worker who just started working in Russia, is looking forward to the election.

“Ito ay mahalaga para mapalitan na yung mga naka upo sa pwesto na walang ginagawa (It is very important. It’s time to remove incumbent senators who are slacking off ,” Divinagracia said.

Overseas Filipino worker (OFW), Jenette Durante was unable to participate in past elections but this time she is ensuring that her vote will be counted.

“Narealize ko po na mahalaga po pala ang boto ko at makakapili po ako nang tamang kandidato para po sa ating bayan ( I realized how valuable my vote is and my right to choose the right people for our nation),”

The Philippine Embassy also reported that in 2016, nearly 3,000 OFW voters registered in Russia with 37 percent or 1,078 voters turnout.

According to Jeffrey Valdez, vice consul at the Philippine Embassy in Moscow, there are an estimated 8,000 OFWs in Russia and 80-85 percent of them are women.

Embassy officials also underscored the importance of the privilege to participate in the political process.

“Ang ating bayan ay isang demokratikong bayan na ang power po ng ating mga leaders ay nanggagaling po sa mga mamamayan po natin. So napakaimportante po na sumali po tayo sa pagpili sa mga taong magdedecide at maglead po sa atin into the future po,” said Sorreta.

(Our country is a democracy and the power of our leaders rests upon the people. This is why its very important to participate in the selection of our future leaders.)

Filipino voters in Russia only have until Sunday, September 30 from 12 to 4 in the afternoon to register for the 2019 mid-term elections. — Catherine Martinez |UNTV News & Rescue, Russia

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