Remains of Filipina domestic helper killed in Kuwait arrive in hometown

Marje Pelayo   •   January 9, 2020   •   336

MANILA, Philippines — Family and friends of Jeanalyn Villavende were both sad and furious as they welcomed the remains of the slain Filipina domestic worker at the General Santos Airport on Thursday (January 8).

Villavende, who was abused and killed by her employer in Kuwait, was immediately flown to her hometown at Norala, South Cotabato.

With placards in hand, her family, relatives and friends united to express their anger as they called for justice for what happened to 26-year-old Jeanelyn.

“Gusto kong mangyari sa employer ni Jeanelyn yung nangyari din sa kanya,” lamented Jeanelyn’s stepmother, Nelly Pardenal.

(I want them to suffer what Jeanelyn had suffered.)

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) immediately conducted a re-autopsy on Jeanelyn’s body to determine the true cause of her death.

Investigations in Kuwait said Jeanelyn died of heart or respiratory failure due to shock after she suffered multiple injuries.

“Hindi namin alam kasi nireport sa amin na patay na talaga doon sa ospital,” said Pardenal, “Patay na siguro talaga, doon pa lang galing sa bahay nila.”

The result of the autopsy is expected to be released soon while her parents expressed confidence that they will get justice for what happened to the Pinay worker.

“Naniniwala ako kasi inaayos naman nila. Tumutulong naman sila para mabigyan ng hustisy ang kamatayan ni Jeanelyn,” Pardenal believed.

(I’m keeping my faith because they are helping to resolve the case and give justice to Jeanelyn’s death.)

Her family expressed gratitude to the assistance the government has offered for the immediate repatriation of Villavende’s remains.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is expected to visit Jeanalyn’s wake on Friday (January 10). — MNP (with report from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

Quarantined OFW in Hong Kong tests negative for nCoV – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   February 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hong Kong health authorities have released from quarantine one of the two Filipino domestic workers after she tested negative for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.

The Filipino worker was given a clean bill of health and is now discharged after the 14-day quarantine period, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Brigido Dulay said in a statement.

“She is now resting in her employer’s home which has been thoroughly sanitized by the Hong Kong Department of Health,” the DFA added.

The Filipino worker was quarantined after she was exposed to her employers who tested positive for the deadly virus.

The DFA said that although healthy and asymptomatic, the worker was put under quarantine after her employer became the second victim to test positive for nCoV outside mainland China.

Authorities earlier reported that another Filipino worker in Hong Kong is also being observed in a quarantine camp for coming in contact with her virus-infected employers.

DOLE eyes partial lifting of deployment ban to Kuwait

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 6, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is eyeing to implement a partial lifting of the ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait.

In a statement, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he will recommend the partial lifting of the ban to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board.

This was after the Kuwaiti government agreed to sign an agreement on the standard employment contract for Filipino household service workers.

“I had a fruitful meeting with my counterparts in Kuwait. Both sides agreed on the harmonized standard employment contract. I will talk with the POEA governing board to recommend the partial lifting of the ban,” he said.

The partial lifting will allow skilled, semi-skilled and professional workers to be deployed to Kuwait. Household service workers are still covered by the prohibition.

Meanwhile, balik-manggagawa workers category will be the subject of discussion and decision of the POEA governing board.

Bello added that a total lifting of the ban will only be implemented if the Kuwaiti government will provide an official status report on the cases of Jeanelyn Villavende, Constancia Dayag, Joanna Demafelis, and on the Filipina who was raped upon arriving at the airport.

“In the case of Villavende, I wanted some validation of their claim that they [accused employers] are formally charged and they are behind bars. We have to be contented who have been charged and what are the nature of the charges,” he said.—AAC

Philippines to stop sending workers to Kuwait

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020

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.

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