KUWAIT VOWS TO BRING JOANNE’S KILLERS TO JUSTICE AS MURDERED OFW MAKES FINAL JOURNEY HOME

 

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OFW found dead in freezer in Kuwait suffered grave physical abuse - PH envoy

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 15) — Domestic worker Joanna Demafelis suffered severe physical abuse before she died, her body found inside a freezer in her employer's home in Kuwait possibly more than a year later, a foreign affairs official said Thursday.

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa said results of the autopsy on Demafelis would be released next week, but initial finding showed she was beaten several times before she died.

"Nabanggit ng forensic doctor na Kuwaiti na ang sanhi ng kanyang pagkamatay ay broken ribs, internal bleeding, at contusions at trauma sa kaniyang katawan, kabilang ang pelvis at kidneys," Villa said in a Viber video call from Kuwait with CNN Philippines .

[Translation: The Kuwaiti forensic doctor said she died due to broken ribs, internal bleeding, contusions and trauma in her body, including her pelvis and kidneys.]

He said forensic doctor revealed the 29-year-old domestic worker was continuously maltreated.

"Ang pambubugbog sa kanya ay hindi raw nangyari ng isang beses lamang. Continous daw ang pagmaltrato sa kanya, ayon sa kanilang findings," Villa said.

Authorities said Demafelis' body may have been kept inside the freezer since November 2016, when her employers left Kuwait. Her body was found after a Kuwaiti court ordered authorities to open the apartment because the Lebanese employer, Nader Essam Assaf, was wanted for cases related to falsified checks.

'Employers covered up her death'

The Philippine envoy said Demafelis' employers reported to Kuwaiti Immigration in 2016 that she had left their apartment. 

'Yun siguro ay kanilang ginawa para pagtakpan ang kanilang ginawang krimen," he said.

[Translation: Maybe they did that to conceal their crime.]

Villa said it would be easier to find the Lebanese employer and his Syrian wife if they were in Lebanon.  The search would be difficult, however, if the couple went Syria because of the ongoing civil war in that country, he noted.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was meeting with the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines on Thursday afternoon.

He explained that under international law, the Kuwaiti government is obliged to provide justice to Filipino workers in that country who are abused by their employers.

The death of Demafelis and seven other overseas Fililpino workers prompted the government to ban the deployment of  workers to Kuwait.

Demafelis' remains will arrive in the Philippines on Friday.

Labor chief orders removal of welfare officer in Kuwait for Demafelis' case oversight

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 15) — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III won't accept excuses for the oversight on the case of the slain OFW in Kuwait.

Overseas worker welfare officer Maria Sarah Concepcion explained in a letter that it is impossible for her to accommodate all requests for assistance from Filipinos working in Kuwait or their families. She said they receive an average of 15 requests for assistance daily.

"No matter how hardworking and efficient a person can be, under the present system, it is humanly impossible for one person to be able to manage all the emails received at post especially when one needs to multitask," her explanation letter read.

She said this is why she failed to act promptly on the case of 29-year-old Joanna Demafelis, the overseas Filipino worker who was found dead in a freezer in Kuwait.

Despite Concepcion's explanation, Bello has ordered her removal from her post.

"Masyado raw maraming trabaho. Eh palagay ko that's not a good explanation. Kung hindi mo kaya, umalis ka," he said on Thursday.

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The Labor Secretary earlier demanded an explanation from Concepcion and Labor Attache in Kuwait Alejandro Padaen following claims of the Demafelis family that their case was ignored by Philippine authorities.

Padaen, in his response, explained he assumed his post three weeks after his office received the Demafelis case in February 7, 2017. He added the case had been referred to Concepcion by his predecessor.

Bello said he has to find out whether his explanation is reasonable or not because he was new in his post.

Prior to the Demafelis case, seven other Filipino housemaids were reported dead in Kuwait.

President Rodrigo Duterte has lashed out at Kuwait and ordered the issuance of a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to the gulf state.

Kuwait's foreign affairs minister condemned the move and said this could damage ties between the two countries.

But Bello said the welfare of Filipino workers is their priority.

"Lagay niya sarili niya dun kay presidente natin makita mo ang isang national mo pina-plantsa o kaya ginagawang ice cream. I think he would also react same way our president acted," he said.

Bello said he met with Kuwait's Ambassador to the Philippines who expressed a sense of urgency in pushing through with the signing of a memorandum of agreement that will give Filipino workers greater protection in Kuwait. He is hopeful the deal will be signed sooner than later. There are 136,000 documented overseas Filipinos working in Kuwait.

He added the signing of the deal could lead to the lifting of the ban on workers deployment to Kuwait.

CONTRACTS OF EXPATS WHO REACH THE AGE OF 65 TO BE TERMINATED

Kuwait’s Civil Service Commission (CSC) has announced a cap on the age of foreign workers in Kuwait, It directed all ministries and government departments to terminate the contracts of expatriates who have reached the age of 65.
Ministries, government departments and public enterprises are still allowed to rehire the same expatriate where work needs dictate.

the new measure would apply to legal advisors working with ministries, except those under contract with the Ministry of Justice and the Directorate of Legal Opinion and Legislation.

16 months in the refrigerator: shocking information about the Lebanese and his wife .. Where are they?

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Some details of the crime that caused a problem between Kuwait and the Philippines are still unclear, but it is certain that the Philippines will not send workers from their country after today, after the shocking news of finding one of the country's girls killed in Kuwait by accident!

Was murdered 16 months ago. The Filipino girl, who worked in a Lebanese house and his Syrian wife, was killed and placed in a refrigerator before leaving their home and leaving Kuwait. They recorded the disappearance of their maid at the police.

The body belonged to the Filipino Joanna Daniela "29 years" remained all that time in the abandoned apartment, according to medical tests have been tortured, and killed suffocating.

According to sources in the Interior Ministry, the 40-year-old Lebanese and his 37-year-old Syrian wife have been circulated to INTERPOL. They have been involved in a case other than murder. They have fled since 2016 after accumulating debts and signing checks with no balance.

They disappeared all that time from the owner of the apartment they rent to pay them to enter the house to demand their rent. He was surprised by the remains of the body of Joanna the Filipino, whose disappearance was reported two days before he left the country.

It seems that the first stop to escape the couple was to the country of the husband in Lebanon, specifically in the area of Budai, which is away from Baalbek 70 km, according to statements to his family.

"He has a strong and dominant personality and has a great role in distinguishing between her husband and his parents," said his aunt. "His news is broken, so we discovered he left Kuwait, now in Damascus."

All his relatives in Lebanon have agreed that his latest news indicates that he is in Syria, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai.

On the other hand, Joanna's family was shocked by her death. She has seven brothers who sold a plot of land they own in order to save her money to work in Kuwait in 2014.

While her family denied any information about Joanna's torture, one of her friends said otherwise, asserting that the Lebanese husband was beating her, starving her, even that he was not paying her the agreed money.

"The Philippine government may reconsider its decision if Kuwait signs a memorandum of understanding guaranteeing the protection of overseas Filipino workers," he said.

Joanna Demafelis – Autopsy Report Died Due To The Severe Beating

Joanna Demafelis, the Filipino worker found in a freezer in Kuwait, died due to the severe beating she suffered allegedly at the hands of her employer, the Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait said Wednesday, citing the autopsy report.

Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa said based on the autopsy report, Demafelis had several broken ribs and contusion and trauma in the pelvis and kidney area. She also suffered from internal bleeding  as per the report on GMA News 

Demafelis body with the Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa

Several wounds were also found on Demafelis’ body, which is expected to be repatriated to the Philippines on Friday, February 16.

“Sinabi rin niya na ‘yung beating sa kanya (Demafelis) o pagmaltrato ay hindi nangyari sa isang beses lang kundi, kumbaga, madalas siyang binubugbog,” Villa said.

The autopsy also showed that Demafelis, who last communicated with her family in the Philippines in September 2016, was already dead when she was put inside the freezer in November 2016.

The body was found by Kuwaiti authorities last week in an unoccupied apartment unit with the freezer still running.

Villa, citing investigation, said Demafelis’ employers, a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife, hid the body in the freezer before fleeing the apartment.

 

“Kasi ang nangyari pala ganito. Ang employer, ‘di ba umalis sila, sumibat sila ng Kuwait? Bago sila umalis gusto nilang pagtakpan ‘yung kanilang ginawa,” Villa said, adding the employers reported to authorities that Demafelis had escaped.

“Ni-report pa nila si Joanna na nag-abscond o tumakas sa bahay nila noong November 6, 2016,” Villa said.

Manhunt operations have already been launched by Kuwaiti law enforcement authorities against Demafelis’ former employers. Kuwait’s Minister of Interior has asked Interpol to look for the couple in Lebanon and Syria.

The discovery of Demafelis’ body prompted the Philippine government to ban the deployment of new workers to Kuwait. Prior to the ban, the deployment was suspended due to reports of abuses on Filipino workers.

On Wednesday afternoon, Villa went to Al-Sabah Hospital to view Demafelis’ remains as part of the Philippine Embassy’s preparations for the repatriation.

Villa said he was again assured by Kuwaiti authorities that they are doing their best to locate and arrest Demafelis’ former employers.

See below video :

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Kuwait Domestic Helper Cries for Help after Being Beaten Up by Female Employer Because of Jealousy

 

Originally posted by QuervyzheanArtiza, a certain Maria Corazon shared on social media the story of an OFW working in Kuwait named MindaLngka Polo who was asking for immediate help. Maria shared a photo showing the blooded face of Minda who was allegedly beaten by her female employer.

According to the post, the employer had beaten the OFW for feeling jealous with Minda and her husband.  She also confiscated Minda’scellphone so she may not be able to ask help from relatives and friends.  Luckily, the OFW had kept a spare phone which she used to share her photo after she was beaten up as she appealed for help on social media.

Quirvyzhean appealed to the public that her post be shared for Minda’s story to be known to many and be rescued from the hands of her employers.

After her story went viral on social media  Maria Corazon is rescued and safe now. Thanks to ATN Officer of Embassy in Kuwait

Kuwaiti Government Condemns Total Deployment Ban of OFWs to Kuwait by Philippines, Seeks Other Options

After Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte instructed DOLE to implement total deployment ban of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government expressed being affected and condemns the escalation of the said deployment ban.

On Tuesday, February 13, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah told the reporters in Kuwait:  “We condemn the statements of the Philippine president, especially since we are in contact with the Philippines at the highest level to fully explain the state of the Filipino workforce in Kuwait.

Recounting the previous days, Duterte had expressed being enraged as he showed photos of a Filipina domestic helper who was found dead inside a freezer whom he said was roasted by a pig.  He also condemned Arab employers who raped their workers, let them work for 21 hours a day and were fed with scraps.  Unfortunately, domestic helpers are not covered by their ordinary labor legislation.

 

“Is there something wrong with your culture? Is there something wrong with your values?”

According to the Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Abas Al-Saleh, they had exerted all efforts to reach out to the Philippines regarding the many unfortunate incidents and the issue of Filipino domestic labor.

On the other hand, Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah expressed having regrets about the statements made by Duterte regarding the situation of the OFWs which was followed by a decision to suspend the deployment of manpower to Kuwait.  He then emphasized that the Filipino community is appreciated like all other nationalities in Kuwait.

In a separate report, recently, more than 200 OFWs were held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by the Immigration where clearances were not issued by Immigration and POEA brought by

Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti Cabinet has accepted recommendations which allowed Al-Durra company to bring in workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Nepal.

Ban on OFWs in Kuwait creates confusion, leaves returning expats worried

Total ban on deployment creates confusion at international airport in Philippines

Dubai: A number of returning Filipino expatriates were initially denied exit at the international airport in the Philippines on Monday following the issuance of an order banning the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state.

The 200 travellers that encountered delays were vacationing Filipino workers with unfinished labour contracts in Kuwait.

 

According to an ABS CBN report, the “total ban” on OFW deployment has created confusion at the airport and left travelling OFWs worried. Workers were initially denied the necessary clearances from the immigration and Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA).

The Philippine government on Monday issued an administrative order to put a stop to the deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait .The move is in response to a series of incidents that led to the deaths and injuries of a number of OFWs in the Gulf state.

However, government personnel at the airport were not certain whether the order also covers returning OFWs with valid work permits.

One of the travelling OFWs who encountered delays, Evangeline Daniel, said she doesn’t see any reason why she should leave her current employer because she has been treated well.

“They’re good to me, so why look for another employer?” Daniel, who has been a domestic helper in Kuwait for seven years, told ABS CBN.

After the momentary holdup, however, Daniel and the rest of the returning OFWs were later granted the clearance to depart NAIA at around 9pm, Philippine time. The airport personnel were told that the new employment ban does not apply to returning OFWs.

The head of the country’s Department of Labour and Employment (Dole), Secretary Silvestre Bello III, had earlier explained that not all OFWs will be mandated to leave or denied exit to Kuwait.

The government will also have to review whether or not the ban should extend to Filipino expats on vacation, or those under the Balik Manggagawa program.

"Only those who want to go home and those who really have to [including Filipinos who are out of jobs] should leave," Bello said. Expats who are being treated well and have stable jobs can choose to stay. 

The administrative order was issued following an order from President Rodrigo Duterte. Amid reports of “inhuman treatment” of Filipino expats, Duterte had earlier called on OFWs based in Kuwait to leave the country.

Deployment Ban : Philippines Has Every Right To Protect I’ts Citizens In Kuwait And Abroad

Ban on Filipinos to work in Kuwait

Kuwait is a beautiful country with a diverse society and is a place of great opportunity. In fact, Kuwait currently holds, for the third year in a row, the UN title of Global Humanitarian Center and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has been rightfully referred to internationally as a Humanitarian Leader. Therefore, it is really confusing to hear that there is a ban on Filipino nationals to come and work in Kuwait in the future, because of what seems to be incidents of human rights violations. With that said, there is no denying that there have been unfortunate incidents in the past. Some that I have worked with personally were of people from different nationalities who were mistreated.

But as a lawyer, you understand that law violations happen in every country. Also as a lawyer in Kuwait, I understand how supportive the government has been in the last decade and how much change and effort has been made in order to keep everyone safe, for example:

1) The laws have changed for the best.

2) The government has set up shelters for those who are being mistreated to go to.

3) There have been governmental departments set up for help.

4) Awareness campaigns.

5) Legal aid has been provided by non-profit organizations supported by the government, and the list goes on.

 

Filipino nationals are an integral part of our society in Kuwait. I cannot imagine a Kuwait without them, and although the Philippines has every right to protect its citizens in Kuwait and abroad, it is very sad to see many of them leave. I have received many questions over the past week regarding the situation, and therefore today’s column is dedicated to answering them.

Cannot come back
Question: Some of my employees have left for a holiday to the Philippines and they want to come back now, but they cannot? Is this not a breach of the contract?

Fajer: This situation is what we would call under law a force majeure event – an act that is beyond the parties’ control. A force majeure is usually included in the contract and allows the parties to suspend or terminate the performance of their obligations should that performance be impossible or impractical, and since employers cannot physically come back to fulfill their obligations under their employment contract, then they are not in breach here.

No regulations 
Question: I have Filipino employees and I want to know what happens if they leave. My company depends on them, and my understanding of Kuwaiti law is that I am supposed to receive a three-month notice? What happens if they decide to leave tomorrow?

Fajer: From my understanding, that there are no regulations that force Filipino nationals to leave Kuwait. They only have that option should they feel that they are in danger. From a legal point of view for private employees under an open-ended contract, they are supposed to submit a three-month notice. But if they have been mistreated or if the employer commits legal violations, such as keeping the employees’ passport or not paying them overtime, then the employees have the right to leave without providing a three-month notice. As for those who are not under any violations and want to leave now and therefore are not providing their employees with a three-month notice, under the Kuwaiti labor law, they should compensate their employers with a three-month salary.