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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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Zubiri ‘horrified'
by OFW's suffering

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday decried the abuse suffered by Overseas Filipinos Workers, including a Negrense domestic helper who died shortly after her return from Kuwait.

Josie Perez Lloren, 40, of Murcia, Negros Occidental, died at a Caloocan hospital on February 9 two weeks after she had returned from Kuwait. She was buried at the Murcia public cemetery on Monday.

Migrante had facilitated the return to the Philippines and hospitalization of Lloren as she was emaciated and gravely ill, Monina Gulmatico, Migrante Negros head, said.

They will raise the case of Lloren at a Senate hearing today to tackle the death of domestic helper Joanna Demafelis of Sara, Iloilo, who was found inside a freezer, and other victims of abuse and maltreatment in Kuwait, Gulmatico said.

Zubiri said they will work at giving justice to Filipinos maltreated and abused in foreign lands.

“The death of Josie Perez Lloren is one in a long string of deaths of our kababayans who took the long hard road to greener pastures. Physical and mental distress in a foreign land has become common stuff of our OFWs plight,” Zubiri said.

He said he was horrified with the thought of what Lloren had to go through in the hands of her abusive employers.

Zubiri said he fully supports President Rodrigo Duterte'sdeployment ban on Kuwait “until they realize that our OFW in their country are not slaves and animals that they can detain, torture and abuse at any time.”

The senator said “if Kuwait puts a premium on our friendship and our workers, then they should immediately pass a law or decree that will protect our workers from abuse. If not then they should just build their buildings and manage their homes themselves.”

Lloren, a mother of three boys, had been working in Kuwait for a little more than two years.

“We want to know what happened to my sister in Kuwait, and we are seeking government's help,” Greg Perez, a jeepney driver who works in Cebu, said.

They are asking for justice for his sister, he said.

Lloren, on her return to the Philippines on Jan. 26, was brought to a hospital in Caloocan where she was found to be suffering from acute ulcers and hypertension, but the cause of her death was cardio respiratory arrest secondary to cerebral vascular disease, Gulmatico said.

Lloren suffered from bleeding in Kuwait that led to her being brought back to the Philippines, Gulmatico said, adding that extreme hunger may have led to hersevere ulcer problems.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Bacolod focal person, RizzaMoldes, said Lloren'sOWWA membership began on August 2016 and expired on August 2017.

However,Lloren's family is still entitled to bereavement assistance of P20,000, livelihood assistance of P15,000 and education assistance, Moldes said.

Moldessaid they are trying to locate the family of Lloren so they can be assisted.

Lloren's family has not contacted OWWA Bacolod, but they heard her brother may have gone to the OWWA in Cebu for help, Moldes said.

Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano said he has asked the family of Lloren to meet with him today as he would like more information on what happened to her in Kuwait.*CPG



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