Migrante International expresses its deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Jeanelyn Villavende whose life ended tragically from the hands of her Kuwaiti employer. We weep with rage as the Duterte regime’s labour export program has claimed another casualty on the back of the high unemployment rate and the absence of job security in the Philippines.
Instead of wholly passing the blame on the Kuwaiti government in reference to the 2018 agreement signed between the two countries, the Duterte regime must face up to its reprehensible failure in addressing the Philippines’ labour woes that continue to drive away thousands of Filipinos everyday into distant lands. While we also demand Kuwait’s swift action in bringing the perpetrator to justice, the Duterte regime deserves more chastisement in denying permanent justice to Filipino workers in their own country.
The government’s referral to the “eye for an eye” principle as if it is the utmost realization of justice for Jeanelyn Villavende will just turn out to be the Duterte regime’s way of absolving itself from its voluminous offenses against OFWs and the entire Filipino people. The death cases of Joanna Demafelis and Constancia Dayag in Kuwait point to the endless cycle of homicidal enslavement that OFWs go through as a result of the government’s constant peddling of Filipino workers as export commodities to salvage an ailing domestic economy.
Jeanelyn’s step-mother mentioned that it was her desire to escape poverty and help her father who was a struggling farmer that compelled the slain OFW to leave the country for Kuwait. Woefully, she ended up brutally killed and with her aspirations dashed to the ground.
It is therefore the Duterte regime’s stubborn refusal to address the long-time demands of workers and farmers that deprived Jeanelyn Villavende of fulfilling her yearning to provide a life of comfort and security for her family. Government agencies may rush to provide short-term aid to her grieving family but that will never be enough to terminate the tragedy of forced migration that has cost an OFW like Jeanelyn her life.
As we amplify the Villavende family’s call for justice, Migrante International will continue to monitor the developments in her case and make sure that every OFW and their families will have their voices heard as we seek accountability from the Duterte regime in its stiff-necked adherence to its deadly labour export program.
Justice for Jeanelyn Villavende!
Junk labour export!