The death of another Filipino domestic helper in Kuwait has raised the need to further improve the legal assistance program for distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Senator Joel Villanueva stressed this as he vowed “to shepherd the passage” of Senate Bill No.1233 which seeks to further expand the Legal Assistance Fund.
“The bill will strengthen the legal assistance provided for our kababayan abroad, and ensure that justice is pursued for our OFWs and overseas-based Filipinos,” he said.
“We have already seen one OFW death in Kuwait too many,” said Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor.
He denounced the killing last December 30 of Jeanelyn Villavende who was allegedly killed by the wife of her employer.
Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello has ordered a partial deployment ban to Kuwait as a result of Villavende’s murder.
“If we cannot get safety and security guarantees for our OFWs in Kuwait, a most basic and reasonable demand in our view, perhaps our government should make the ban permanent,” Villanueva said.
“In the meantime, we also call on the DoLE and TESDA to ensure that there are available jobs and training opportunities for workers who will be affected by the ban,” he said.
He added, “In the long term, we should exert all efforts to create more job opportunities locally so that our kababayans do not need to go abroad and leave their families to find well paying jobs.”