February 14, 2018
MANILA – A party-list representative urged the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the death of domestic worker Joanna Daniela Demafelis in Kuwait.
A native of Sara, Iloilo, Demafelis was found stuffed in a freezer in an abandoned apartment last week.
Government agencies that sat on the case of Demafelis should be held liable, stressed John Bertiz of ACTS OFW.
“Nagpapa-imbestiga tayo kung itong pamilya lumapit sa mga opisina ng gobyerno,” Bertiz told a cable news channel interview on Monday night.
“Kung sinu-sino pala ang tinatawagan nila kasi na-shut down ng Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) iyong recruitment agency na nagpasok sa kanya,” the congressman said.
According to Bertiz, the family of Demafelis sought help from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the POEA when they were having difficulty reaching her.
The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has not received any request for assistance.
“Nagfa-follow up (ang family) and they did not get any response, hindi pa rin daw nila ma-locate,” Bertiz said.
“And sinasabi nila they tasked the agency to locate her. E cancelled na ang agency e, ano pa’ng pakialam (ng POEA) diyan, ’di ba?” he added.
Demafelis’ sister Jessica said they approached the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in 2016 after failing to contact the domestic worker but failed to get help.
“Umaasa kami na aaksyonan ng OWWA saka sa embassy sa Kuwait pero walang aksyon e,” Jessica said.
Kuwaiti officials were still searching for Demafelis’ last employer – a Lebanese national named Nader Essam Assaf, who was wanted for cases related to falsified checks.
The Department of Labor and Employment on Monday ordered a “total ban” on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait. It is also looking into the deaths of seven Filipina household service workers there./PN