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Solon urges probe into neglect of OFWs

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 160

A party-list solon, representing the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), is asking Congress to conduct a legislative inquiry to determine the lapses or negligence of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in providing assistance to distressed workers.

ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III said he would call for an inquiry to review how the government responds to situations faced by OFWs, particularly those languishing in jail.
   
Bertiz was deeply saddened by the fate of Jakatia Pawa who was hanged in Kuwait for killing her employer’s daughter.
   
The solon wants to know what the DFA was doing before Pawa was executed.
   
“Was there a failure or neglect in monitoring the case and providing assistance to her and her family?” Bertiz asked.
 
“Her death exposed the fatal flaws in our system – from monitoring the plight of OFWs, to legal assistnce, up to the provision of support to bereaved families.  I will call for a review of this case to determine what we could have done better,” he added.
   
Bertiz said the government should use the lessons learned from the wrongful execution of Jakatia to make sure that no innocent OFW would be put to death.
   
As a former OFW, he said he realized that there are times the government failed to be pro-active in monitoring their situation and in providing timely assistance.
   
Reports said that it was Pawa herself who had to inform her brother, Gary, about the schedule of her execution.
    
“The death of Jakatia was made more painful by the fact that the DFA and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait learned the day before (on January 24) of the impending execution, but neglected to inform the family,” Bertiz said.
    
“Worse, the family learned that the execution was carried out only through the media.  It seems that the DFA officials cannot be bothered to call and inform the family that they have already lost their loved one,” he added.
 
Bertiz earlier filed House Resolution 558 to look into the plight of Filipino household service workers in Kuwait.
    
Of the 250,000 OFWs in Kuwait, some 158,000 are household service workers or domestic helpers.