Baby A: Ban OFW deployment in Kuwait

PANGASINENSES going to work in Kuwait are advised to go to other host countries.

Third District Rep. Rose Marie Arenas has called on the national government to impose a total ban on the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, particularly, women as household service workers, following the death of another Filipina who was found dead on May 14.

Rep. Baby Arenas

“I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the unabated series of barbaric abuses and senseless killings of our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, which we have silently, cowardly and, unconscionably taken for granted for more than two decades, leading us today, to one more brutal and meaningless death, that of Constancia  Layug  Dayag,” Arenas said in her privilege speech on June 3.

The body of Dayag, a native of Isabela province, arrived from Kuwait. An autopsy report indicated she sustained various contusions and hematoma on her body and had a cucumber stuffed inside her vagina.

Arena said countless OFWs before Layug have been victims of different kinds and levels of abuse and exploitation that are inhuman, with their cruelty going beyond human endurance, stripping the victims of every shred of human dignity.

“The past years taught us the unimpeachable lesson that every OFW deployed in Kuwait, faces an uncertain future… because the laws of and the culture in  Kuwait does not provide, nor accept the need for, enough protection for our household service workers,” she said.

Arenas said the atrocities, so savage, “have become a national emergency for us because, almost 90 percent of OFWs deployed in Kuwait are household workers, all of them women, the most vulnerable sector of our OFW community in Kuwait”.

She said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported a total of 47 OFW deaths in Kuwait in 2013 alone, or a total of 196 Filipino workers died since 2016 to the present, with almost 79 percent of the victims died due to physical abuse.

In 2017, she said 6,000 abuses, including sexual abuse and rape were reported by DFA.

Arenas cited the country’s outrage on Feb. 12, 2018, when OFW Joanna Demafelis returned to the Philippines in a wooden crate, killed by her employers and her corpse kept in a freezer in an abandoned apartment for almost two years.

Arenas said President Rodrigo Duterte himself, called her death a “national shame” and ordered a ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, but which was lifted shortly after.

In January 2017, Jakatia Pawa, a 44-year-old mother of two, who worked as a domestic helper in Kuwait was executed by hanging, for a crime she did not commit. Seven more OFW deaths since Pawa followed that year.

Arenas also said that Filipino household workers in Kuwait suffer harsh working conditions under the so-called kafala system, where they are treated like “slaves”. Under the kafala, Kuwait’s sponsorship system, the employer or the sponsor becomes the owner of the worker in the concept of slavery or sexual slavery, controlling the passport of the worker, who is not allowed to go out freely, hence workers who flee can be imprisoned or deported, forcing them to remain with abusive employers, Arenas said. (PhilStar Wire Service)

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