Bello to Kuwait: Give Villavende justice, ban could be lifted

WITH the partial deployment ban in Kuwait now in effect, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Saturday, January 4, said having the host country give justice to the death of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Jeanelyn Villavende might just be enough to have it lifted.

In an interview, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are asking the Kuwaiti Government to immediately give justice to Villavende if only to pave the way for possible lifting of the deployment ban.

“File a charge for an act resulting to death and we might consider lifting. We might. I am not saying we will,” Bello said.

“We are going to watch carefully so that justice be given to Jeanelyn,” he furthered.

As of the latest information, the labor chief related that the employers of Villavende are already detained by authorities but is unclear whether they have already been charged or not.

“We will wait for the copy of the charge. We also got a report from our labor attaché that they have not been charged and are still under investigation,” he related.

Bello issued the statement after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) promulgated the resolution imposing the deployment ban on newly-hired household service workers (HSWs) in Kuwait.

This was prompted by the alleged maltreatment and killing of Villavende at the hands of her employers.

If not, Bello said the Philippine government is prepared to escalate the ban from partial to total.

“It might ripen into a total deployment ban if we do not get justice for Jeanelyn Villavende,” he said.

In turn, he said they will just look for alternative markets for affected OFWs, such as China, Japan, Israel, Russia, Qatar, Oman, and Jordan.

“We’ll provide them alternative places for deployment. That is why we are looking for alternative markets. That is why we are negotiating with other countries, where they will be safer,” said Bello. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)