Philippines to stop sending workers to Kuwait

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020   •   330

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will again impose a total deployment ban of workers to Kuwait in the wake of the death of Filipino household service worker, Jeanelyn Villavende, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Wednesday.

DOLE said the total deployment ban to Kuwait will be implemented after the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Governing Board approved the recommendation of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Bello earlier said he is inclined to recommend a total deployment ban for Filipino workers after the results of a re-autopsy by Philippine authorities showed that Villavende may have been beaten weeks before her death.

The autopsy also revealed that the victim had several missing internal organs and her body had “clear indications of sexual abuse.”

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted the re-autopsy after an embalming certificate released by Kuwait’s Ministry of Health showed that Villavende died of “acute failure of heart and respiration” as a result of shock and multiple injuries.

It was earlier reported that Villavende might have been beaten to death purportedly by her employer and was already dead when brought to a hospital. Attending nurses reported that she was ‘black and blue.’

Earlier this month, the government imposed a partial deployment ban to Kuwait which covers newly-hired household service workers.

In 2018, the Philippines implemented a total deployment ban after a string of reports of Filipino workers being abused and killed in Kuwait, including household service worker Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment.

The ban was lifted months later after the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments signed a labor pact for the protection of Filipino workers there.

DOLE assures job security for Filipino crew in cruise ship

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has assured job security for the Filipino crew in the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess.

DOLE Usec. Ana Dione. said the labor attache of the Philippines in Japan is already coordinating with the Japanese company that owns the Diamond Princess for the job security of the repatriated Filipino crew.

“Tutulong and DOLE diyan through our POLO [Philippine Overseas Labor Office] offices na i-secure iyong kanilang trabaho, now kung mag-desisyon sila kung babalik o hindi nasa kanila na iyon (DOLE will help through our POLO offices in securing their jobs. Now, it is their decision if they wish to return or not),” she said.

After the 14-day quarantine on Wednesday (February 19), the DOLE said they are prepared to repatriate the over 500 Filipino crew and passengers.

“Exact date ay hindi natin iyan kayang sabihin sa ngayon, (we cannot say the exact date as of now) but we are hoping that within this month,” according to Dione.

The repatriated Filipinos will also undergo the 14-day quarantine period, based on the protocol of the Department of Health (DOH).—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

DOLE urges DOH to lift travel ban to Taiwan

Robie de Guzman   •   February 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday said it has requested the Department of Health (DOH) to lift the travel ban for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to Taiwan amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he has coordinated with the DOH for his request to review its decision and lift the temporary travel ban soon.

“For those who are affected by the travel ban in Taiwan, we ask for your patience and in a few days, there will be a review. While waiting for the lifting of the ban, we are providing financial assistance,” Bello said.

The labor chief assured that stranded overseas workers who are members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will receive P10,000 financial assistance amid the crisis.

Affected OFWs will also be provided with accommodation, food and transportation assistance.

Bello asked stranded OFWs to wait for the result of the assessment for the next three to five days.

“We are seeking understanding from our OFWs because the implementation of a temporary ban by the DOH is for your own safety as well,” he said.

“We hope for a possible lifting of the ban in a few days,” he added.

The Philippine government earlier imposed a travel ban on China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. It later expanded the travel restrictions to include Taiwan.

The Taiwanese government questioned the Philippines’ move and reportedly warned to impose countermeasures should the latter keeps the entry ban.

Dubai denies report that Filipino worker died of coronavirus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 7, 2020

The Dubai Media Office has denied claims made by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III that a Filipina had died due to coronavirus.

The media office said overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Amalia Collado Daproza died of pneumonia and had tested negative for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

They also reiterated that there are no cases of death due to coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Bello already apologized to the government of Dubai for the confusion.

In a statement, the Labor Secretary clarified that the death of Daproza at Al Zahra Hospital in the UAE was not a case of nCoV as earlier reported.

“Based on a belated report received by the office of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III from the Philippine Labor Office in Dubai, results of confirmatory tests conducted by the Pathology and Genetics Department of the Dubai Health Authority on Daproza’s specimen yielded negative of the novel corona virus,” the statement reads.—AAC

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