With tensions and a growing alarm felt over the past few days between the Philippines and Kuwait following the report of another OFW death, allegedly in the hands of her employer, officials from both sides are taking precautionary measures to ensure that the situation would not blow out of proportions.
While the possibility of a deployment ban not far off, Filipino officials have announced that they are reviewing the agreement signed with Kuwait over the rights of Filipinos working in the Gulf State.
[UPDATE] Initial Results Show Natural Cause of Filipina Maid’s Death
In response to this, the Kuwaiti government stressed that initial examination of the deceased body showed no signs of criminal acts, and that the Filipina had apparently died of natural causes, as shared in a report by the Kuwait Times.
In this regard, Malacañang announced that it will be reviewing the agreement signed with Kuwait after the death of the housemaid Constancia Lago Dayag. Furthermore, the president’s official spokesperson said any measures would be withheld pending recommendations from the labour minister after what it deemed as violations of the agreement.
However, despite Kuwaiti reports, the Philippine media keeps on stressing that there was sexual assault and murder involved, citing bruises found on the victim’s body, which was denied by Kuwaiti security authorities who pointed out that the maid had been on good terms with her sponsor’s family after having just returned to them from a vacation.
And while official forensic results could come in only after a couple of weeks to a month at most, Filipino officials from the Philippine Embassy are closely monitoring the investigation and acting on directives from Manila.
The situation is very delicate as there has already been a precedent case in the death of an OFW housemaid, Joanna Demafelis, from last year. This sparked controversy in regards to the real conditions of Filipino workers in the Gulf State, especially domestic workers. The situation prompted officials from both countries to come up with a memorandum of understanding on the protection of OFWs in the Gulf State.
However, with a wrong turn in this unexpected yet similar situation from last year, the threat of a labour ban seems more realistic and tangible more than ever. Should the ban push through, over 260,000 OFWs – 120,000 (52%) of which are domestic workers, could potentially become affected.
At this point, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait is taking a wait-and-see approach as official and conclusive results in the investigation are still not available.