Palace expresses outrage over death of another OFW in Kuwait

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 1, 2020   •   354

Malacañang has expressed outrage over the death of another Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Kuwait.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “The Palace expresses its outrage over the death of Filipino worker, Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, allegedly in the hands of her female employer.

Panelo also said the female employer is already in the custody of the Kuwaiti authorities.

“We consider Jeanelyn’s tragic death a clear disregard of the agreement signed by both our country and Kuwait in 2018 which seeks to uphold and promote the protection of the rights and welfare of our workers in Kuwait,” he added.

The Palace official also said that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is already closely monitoring the case to provide justice for Villavende’s family.

The DFA also summoned Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh on Tuesday (December 31) to convey the Philippine government’s outrage over the death of Villavende.

Panelo also said the government sends its condolences to the family and loved ones of Villavende.—AAC

Formal complaint necessary for gov’t to act on alleged ‘pastillas’ scheme in BI

Marje Pelayo   •   February 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang vowed to take action on the reported anomaly inside the Bureau of Immigration (BI) over the so-called ‘pastillas’ scheme.

But the Palace said, it could only act on the matter once a formal complaint is filed.

“Any violation, any transgression, any anomaly, the Palace frowns on it and will act on it, if there are complaints formally filed before its office,” noted Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Based on an expose by Senator Risa Hontiveros, BI personnel were allegedly taking bribes of up to P10,000 from Chinese nationals who wanted to enter and work in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry.

Panelo said the Palace is expecting BI Commissioner Jaime Morente to spearhead the investigation and enforce the necessary actions on involved BI personnel.

“The Immigration commissioner is tasked to do his job. Meaning, apart from the usual governing of his own territory, he has to know if there is an anomaly in his territory and respond to it,” the Palace Spokesperson said.

Five immigration officials were already relieved following the Senate inquiry yesterday.

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte would not hesitate on stopping POGO operations in the country if evidence of corruption is proven because that would definitely have a huge impact on the country’s economy.

“Di ba sabi nga ni Presidente, ‘there is no sacred cow in this government. If it’s against the interest of the people and general welfare, I’ll stop it.’ This is the kind of President we have,” Panelo said. — MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DFA: Filipino workers can now return to Hong Kong, Macau despite coronavirus travel ban

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos working in Macau and Hong Kong can now return to their jobs despite the travel ban being implemented on China and its territories due to the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

In a Twitter post, DFA Undersecretary Brigido “Dodo” Dulay announced that Filipino migrants returning for work in Hong Kong and Macau have been exempted from the outbound travel ban.

However, Dulay said they will be subjected to “certain procedural formalities.”

“OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) returning for work in Hong Kong and Macau have been exempted from the outbound travel ban by the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) subject to certain procedural formalities,” he said.

Hundreds of Filipino workers bound for Hong Kong and Macau were left stranded in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte on February 2 imposed travel restrictions on China and its territories hit with the deadly virus.

Stranded migrant workers were offered P10,000 cash assistance, and provided with dormitories and food while they await the lifting of the travel ban.

Groups of OFWs have earlier appealed to the government to let them return to China and its territories in fear of losing their jobs.

More Filipinos in China long for home after losing their jobs due to nCoV outbreak

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 11, 2020

Elsie Lopez is an undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province in China.

After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Elsie was fired by her employer due to health concerns. No other employer has hired her since then.

Kunshan City is among the cities in China that are on lockdown due to the virus outbreak. Elsie, along with the other OFWs in China who lost their jobs, have nothing to eat and have nowhere else to go.

Elsie said the Philippine Consulate advised them to wait until the situation returns to normal.

“Mahal na pangulo, natatakot po kami na hintayin maging okay ang lahat dahil wala na po kaming trabaho, walang pagkain, hindi kami makalabas ng gate, (Our beloved president, we are afraid of waiting until everything is okay. We have no job, no food and we cannot leave the gate),” she said.

The UNTV News and Rescue already raised Elsie’s situation to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and is still waiting for a response.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said the government is prepared to assist Filipinos in China, based on the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“As soon as we get any request for repatriation, we will respond to that request,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Last weekend, 30 Filipinos were repatriated from Wuhan City, Hubei Province and are now under quarantine in New Clark City, Athlete’s Village in Capas, Tarlac.—AAC (with reports from Dulce Alarcon)

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