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Pacquiao calls for Senate probe on OFW abuses in Kuwait

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Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday has proposed a Senate inquiry into the death Joanna Daniela Demafelis who was found lifeless in a freezer, and other reported abuses against migrant Filipino workers in Kuwait.

The filing of Pacquiao’s resolution No. 626, came ahead of the planned filing of a similar resolution to be sponsored by Senators Joel Villanueva and Nancy Binay.

In his speech, Pacquiao urged colleagues to support President Duterte’s decision to suspend the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait while at the same time moved to conduct an exhaustive investigation on the untoward deaths of OFWs.

The senator also called for the re-examination of the government’s labor and foreign policies and programs in the wake of the continued abuses and exploitation of OFWs.

“We need to review the policies and responsibilities of concerned agencies like the Philippine Overseas Workers Administration (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)as they heighten the accountability of recruitment agencies in our move to prevent abuses as well as combat illegal recruitment and even human trafficking,” he said.

The senator stressed the need in looking into the extent of abuses committed to OFWs to help the government prevent similar incidents from repeatedly taking place.

Demafelis was alleged to have been maltreated by her Lebanese and Syrian employers.

“Let us look forward to that day when our OFWs would no longer have to be exposed to abuses just to earn money for their families. As we altogether work for the socio-economic advancement of our country, let us keep seeking God’s wisdom on what we are supposed to do for the holistic welfare of our modern day heroes,” he said on the floor.

“Let us remain hopeful that the day will come when we no longer have to export our people as household workers who are treated like slaves, the day when people from all over the world would see and treat the Filipinos with dignity, honor and respect,” Pacquiao said.