MANILA, Jan 28: Malacañang on Tuesday welcomed the filing of murder charges against the Kuwaiti employers of Filipino domestic worker Jeanelyn Villavende, according to the Philippines News Agency.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, during a Senate labor committee hearing, bared that Villavende’s employers were formally charged and detained in a facility for high criminals. “That’s good because that’s what we’re asking for – justice. We welcome that,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
However, Panelo echoed Bello’s stance on keeping the temporary deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Gulf State in the wake of Villavende’s murder. “It stays. The ban is temporary,” Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said.
Bello said the temporary ban stays until the Kuwaiti government agrees to “harmonize” the memorandum of agreement on the protection of OFWs in the Arab country signed by the two countries on May 11, 2018. The agreement aims to put an end to inhumane treatment committed against Filipino workers by their Kuwaiti employers.
It contains provisions which include requiring workers’ passports to be deposited to the Philippine embassy and not confiscated by employers; workers are given one day off every week; workers are given seven hours of sleep a day; workers provided with decent meals and sleeping quarters; and workers provided with cellphones. Panelo earlier said the Kuwaiti government has yet to honor the pact on the protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf State.