Malacañang on Saturday said the Philippine government is still studying a possible expansion of a deployment ban to other countries that treat overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) unfairly.
In a news conference in Zamboanga dela Norte, Palace spokesman Harry Roque reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to prohibit Filipinos from seeking jobs in Kuwait will remain in effect until justice is served to Joanna Demafelis, the Filipina domestic helper who was killed allegedly by her employers and found inside a freezer a year later.
“Pinag-aaralan na rin po ng Department of Labor kung merong ibang mga bansa pa na dapat itigil ang deployment ng ating mga mamamayan [The Department of Labor and Employment is studying if there are other countries where we can impose the ban on the deployment of our fellow countrymen],” Roque told reporters.
“Ang desisyon po ng Presidente, huwag munang magpadala ng ating mga kababayan sa Kuwait hanggang hindi po nabibigyan ng katarungan itong si Joanna [But the decision of the President, we will not send our fellow Filipinos to Kuwait until Joanna gets justice],” he said.
Duterte was prompted to order the total ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait after the gruesome death of Demafelis.
Demafelis’ employers and primary suspects in her killing, Nader Essam Assaf, a Lebanese, and his Syrian wife Mona Hassoun, were separately arrested and are being questioned by authorities.
Agnes Tuballes, the alleged recruiter of Demafelis, on Tuesday turned herself in to authorities.
Police, however, said Tuballes, was free to go because she was not considered a suspect.
Tuballes pointed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Global E-Human Resources Inc. as the agency that facilitated Demafelis’ employment in Kuwait.
She said she surfaced in order to clear her name.
Meanwhile, Roque assured the public that the government would work to ensure justice is served and not delayed.
“So tuluy-tuloy naman po ang proseso ng pag-kakamit ng katarungan pero sa panandalian po, wala pa rin tayong deployment sa Kuwait [So the process continues to achieve justice (for Demafelis) but for now the deployment ban to Kuwait stays],” he said.