Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd has sacked the country’s labor attache to Kuwait for negligence and insubordination.
Bello ordered the immediate recall of Acting Labor Attache Angelita Narvaez after she failed to provide support and assistance to distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in her area of jurisdiction.
The Labor chief said Narvaez defied his order to closely monitor the case of Amy Capulong Santiago who was mauled by her employers. Santiago was taken to the Farwaniya Hospital on January 25 but she died on the same day.
The DOLE chief said that Narvaez never mentioned the case of Santiago when he visited Kuwait on his way to Rome, Italy for the third round of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front- Communist Party of the Philippines.
“Santiago died on January 25. I was there on January 26 but Narvaez did not even bother to inform me about what happened to Santiago. It is clear that she wanted to mislead or intentionally keep the case from me,” Bello said.
Narvaez, he added, also intentionally evaded seeing distressed OFWs inside the Bahay Kalinga or the Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos Resource Center, a half-way house for Filipinos awaiting repatriation to the Philippines.
“I only came to know that there are 100 OFWs at the second floor of the Bahay Kalinga from a returning OFW. She kept it from me,” Bello said.
The Labor chief said administrative cases will be filed against Narvaez, who will be subjected to an investigation by the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) upon her return to the Philippines.
“I am truly disheartened that such tragedies happen. I assure the family of Santiago that we will provide all the necessary assistance they need,” Bello said.
He said Santiago’s family has been informed of the possible benefits they may get, including a P200,000 death insurance and a burial assistance of P20,000.
Santiago’s dependents will also be provided with educational benefits and livelihood assistance.
According to reports from the Assistance to Nationals Unit (ATNU) of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, records at the Abdullah Al Mubarak Police Directorate General of Criminal Evidence showed old and fresh bruises on various parts of Santiago’s body, mostly on her back.
The remains of the victim were referred to the Forensic Department for further investigation to ascertain the cause of her death. Kuwaiti police arrested Santiago’s male employer while his wife surrendered at the Abdullah Al Mubarak Police station.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL