Andanar backs Duterte’s stance vs. deployment ban to Kuwait

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar on Saturday expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte's decision not to stop Filipinos from seeking jobs in Kuwait despite the killing of Filipino domestic worker Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende.

Despite the tragedy involving the killing of one of our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Jeanelyn Villavende, we support President Duterte's pronouncement that there will be no deployment ban for OFWs bound for Kuwait, Andanar said in a statement.

This comes after the proactive and just response made by the Kuwaiti Government on the said case as compared to the case of Joanna Demafelis back in 2018, he added.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN aired on Friday night, the President said he has no plan to order the repatriation of Filipinos working in Kuwait because he was satisfied with the Kuwaiti government's swift response to Villavende's case.

Duterte also said he appreciates Kuwait's efforts to serve justice for Villavende who was killed by her employer's wife.

Villavende's employers have been arrested and are currently detained by Kuwaiti authorities.

Andanar lauded the Arab country for implementing its existing labor pact with the Philippines.

The government of Kuwait has carried out what our administration sought for when we signed an agreement with them to provide better protection for Filipino migrant workers in 2018, he said.

On May 11, 2018, the Philippines inked a memorandum of agreement with Kuwait to ensure the protection of OFWs in the Arab nation, following the series of cases of maltreatment and death of Filipino workers, including Joana Demafelis who body was discovered in her employer's freezer.

The Department of Labor and Employment has imposed a partial deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait following Villavende's death. However, skilled workers and professionals are exempted from the partial deployment ban.

On Friday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government's possible declaration of a total ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait relies on the results of the autopsy results on Villavende.

Results of the examination conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on the remains of Villavende showed signs of sexual abuse on the victim, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed earlier Sunday.

Guevarra added that there were also old healed wounds which indicate that the slain OFW had been battered weeks prior to her killing.

While the Chief Executive has no intent to prohibit Filipinos from working in the Gulf State, his administration would do its best to ensure the safety and protection of an estimated 2.5 million OFWs worldwide, Andanar said.

The Duterte administration will continue to seek out agreements with all governments to ensure the safety and protection of our OFWs all over the world, the PCOO chief said.

Source: Philippines News Agency