OFW sought help from agency months before she was killed by Kuwaiti employer


Posted at Jan 02 2020 05:58 PM

MANILA - The recruitment agency that deployed Jeanelyn Villavende to Kuwait could lose its license over the overseas Filipino worker's (OFW) death, labor chief Silvestre Bello III said on Thursday.

Bello said in a statement that they would ask the agency to explain why it failed to act on the OFW's request for repatriation months before her death in the hands of her Kuwaiti employer.

"As early as September, she already complained about maltreatment and underpayment of salary. She also repeatedly requested the agency for repatriation, but they did not do anything," Bello said. 

Villavende's family last talked to her in October. The family tried to contact her again on December 13 but her employer was the one who answered the call and said that the OFW was busy.

The employer has been detained.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will extend death and burial benefits to the OFW. Her family will likewise receive livelihood assistance and education scholarship for her youngest sibling who is in Grade 6.

"Ang pinaka-basic na karaingan ng pamilya is hustisya. So hustisya at pagpapauwi kay Jeanelyn. Alam naman natin na nakakulong ngayon ang mag-asawang employer at may kasong isinampa sa kanila," OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said.

Cacdac recently visited Norala, South Cotabato to condole with Villavende's family and extend government's help.

"We have to await the findings and the results of the investigation bago pa man makauwi si Jeanelyn," he said.

Villavende's death prompted the Philippine government to impose a partial deployment ban on new household service workers to Kuwait.

The ban is still subject to the approval of the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) where Bello sits as its chair.

"This should serve as a clear message to Kuwaiti authorities. The partial ban may ripen into total deployment ban if justice for Jeanelyn Villavende is not met," Bello said.