Palace expresses outrage over death of another OFW in Kuwait

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 1, 2020   •   567

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

30,000 OFW children in college to benefit from P1-B education subsidy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2020

More than 30,000 college students who are dependents of repatriated, displaced, and deceased overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will benefit from the government’s P1 billion education subsidy, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed a memorandum of agreement to launch “Tabang OFW”. The program aims to provide a one-time financial assistance of P30,000 to one college-level dependent of a repatriated, displaced, or deceased OFW.

Bello said the program is just one of the government’s ways of reciprocating the sacrifices of overseas Filipinos.

“We hope this will go a long way in helping our OFWs and their children in these most challenging times. By doing this, we also hope we can partly repay our modern-day heroes,” he said.

Under the agreement the Labor Department shall issue orders, circulars or guidelines that will spell out the effective and efficient implementation of the program while the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will release the funds amounting to P1 billion to DOLE for its implementation.

The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) will assist DOLE on the promotion and other information dissemination activities of the program. AAC

Palace calls proposed Philippine Human Rights Act filed in US Congress a very ‘wild suggestion’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 24, 2020

Malacañang has slammed a proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress that seeks to suspend the security assistance provided by the United States of America to the Philippines.

Pennsylvania Representative Susan Wild sponsored the Philippine Human Rights Act last September 17 as she criticized the alleged human rights abuses in the Philippines and “brutal” regime under President Rodrigo Duterte through the Anti-Terrorism Law. Wild is pushing to halt U.S. funding for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“That’s a very ‘wild’ suggestion. Hayaan na po natin. Iyan po ay personal na opinion ni Congresswoman Wild (We should just let it go. That is the personal opinion of Congresswoman Wild),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, adding that the proposed act has little chance of getting approved.

He also reiterated that Malacañang is confident that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump will uphold Philippine-US relations.

Roque said the Philippines will not interfere with U.S sovereignty and will not stop the proposed act from progressing through the legislative process. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Filipino on Kuwait death row gets Amiri pardon, flies home to PH

Marje Pelayo   •   September 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government of Kuwait has granted clemency to overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Bienvenido Espino after serving 13 years in jail on death row for the murder of his Filipina partner in 2008.

According to Philippine Embassy in Kuwait Charge D’affaires and Consul General Pendosina Lomondot, Espino was pardoned by the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during the recently concluded Eid season, along with other Filipino detainees at Sulaibiya Central Jail.

“On behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, my deepest and most profound gratitude goes to His Highness The Amir for granting clemency to OFW Bienvenido Espino, and for giving our kababayan a chance to start a new life in the Philippines,” Chargé d’Affaires Lomondot said.

In May 2008, the Kuwaiti Court of First Instance found Espino guilty of murdering his Filipina partner in October 2007, and sentenced him to death by hanging. 

The said decision was upheld by the Kuwaiti Court of Appeals in January 2009, and by the Kuwait Court of Cassation in November 2009.

However, Espino received a tanazul or letter of forgiveness from the family of his late Filipina partner after settling the blood money for the crime. 

The issuance of a tanazul led to the commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment in 2013. 

Lomondot said Espino’s case had been under negotiation since the administrations of Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno S. Aquino III.  

The embassy official sent off Espino at the Kuwait International Airport on August 30 along with other Filipinos who availed the repatriation flight arranged by the Philippine government for OFWs who wish to return home due to the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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