With deep sadness, Migrante International extends its heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the OFW from Kuwait who took her own life and is believed to be caused by severe stress, depression and anxiety. The OFW has a history of abuse and maltreatment from one of her previous employers in Kuwait. Her fellow OFW repatriates related that they have been there at the shelter since the 3rd of April but were not given substantial aid. We are likewise outraged that the OFW did not receive psychosocial services from any government agency even after two suicide attempts during her stay at the OWWA shelter. This is the result of the Duterte government’s neglect of OFWs who are languishing in low quality OWWA shelters and quarantine facilities without adequate assistance, psychosocial support nor relief for their families.
The OFW was found lifeless in the stairway of a hotel or lodge in Pasay City which is one of the hotels temporarily converted into an OWWA shelter. She took her life using a scarf. The OFW has been battling extreme stress and depression according to OFW occupants and hotel staff at the temporary OWWA shelter. They also said that the OWWA personnel in charge has prior knowledge of the OFW’s condition after attempting suicide twice but OWWA did not take action on the victim’s condition.
Without psychosocial support and substantial relief from the government, the militarized lockdown will surely take the hardest toll on the mental health of many OFWs displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Experts say that its impact on mental health could outlast the virus itself.
President Duterte extended the ECQ up to May 15 without a detailed comprehensive plan. Migrante International would like to get straight and detailed answers directly from the Duterte government. Filipino migrants and their families want none of Duterte’s ‘shoot-them-dead’ orders or his Martial Law threats. We do not want an OFW version of Winston Ragos, a mentally challenged retiree who was shot dead by a policeman. We fear that depressed OFWs might suffer the same fate due to Duterte’s heavy handed approach on the pandemic. This tragic death of the OFW from Kuwait is a wake up call to the Duterte government to stop ignoring the needs of OFWs before and after their repatriation. Mass testing and mass treatment must be accompanied by mental health intervention.
Migrante International calls on the Duterte government to ensure the swift delivery of relief for her bereaved family and make arrangements for her decent burial. We want an impartial investigation and heads must roll for negligent government officials responsible for her death. OFWs have sacrificed their lives and even their sanity just to provide a better life for their families back home in the Philippines. They deserve immediate and extended assistance from the government in this period of the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve justice!