MANILA – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is thinking of ordering a reshuffle of his officers in Kuwait following the lack of coordination and action on cases involving distressed overseas Filipino workers.
“Siguro kailangan ng konting balasa,” Bello told radio DZMM.
Bello said news about the execution of OFW domestic worker Jakatia Pawa was relayed to him by OFW advocate Susan Ople and not by DOLE people assigned in Kuwait.
“Biro mo, hindi man lang tayo sinasabihan na mayroon pala tayong kababayan na nasa death row. Una kong reaction, ire-recall ko mga tao dyan,” he said.
Pawa was executed by hanging last week for the death of her employer’s daughter in 2007.
Hours before her scheduled execution, Pawa called up her brother, Lt. Col. Angaris Pawa, to inform him about it and to entrust the care of her two children to him.
Bello said he is ordering all Philippine labor attaches around the world to submit a list of detained Filipinos and those on death row.
“Mayroon din akong utos sa kanila na lahat ng ating kababayang nakakulong ay dadalawin at least once a month,” he said.
Bello, who arrived in Kuwait hours after Pawa was executed, also looked into the plight of hundreds of distressed OFWs currently housed at a temporary shelter there.
“Forty-seven of them ang darating bukas. First batch yan,” he said.
Like the Pawa case, Bello said he was not immediately informed about the death of another domestic worker in Kuwait, Amy Capulong Santiago, who died the same day that Pawa was executed.
Santiago was beaten to death by her employer. Her male employer has been arrested while his wife also surrendered to authorities.
Bello earlier said that he is seriously considering a moratorium or the temporary suspension on the deployment of household service workers to Kuwait in view of the rising number of distressed OFWS there.
“Kaya lang inisip ko na pag nagdecide akong i-ban muna ang deployment ng OFWs sa Kuwait baka sabihin ng Kuwait na retaliatory move ko ito. Ayaw ko namang ganun ang isipin nila,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DOLE chief said he also offered scholarship assistance to the four children of Nilo Macaranas, an engineer who was killed by fellow OFW Elpidio Lano in 2014. Lano is now on death row.
Bello noted one of Macaranas' children wants to go abroad.
He added that he is still hoping for the best for Lano, after he spoke with Macaranas’ family.
“Nag-usap na kami. Inimbita ko si Mrs. Macaranas. Sinabi ko naman sa kanya na I will leave the judgement to you dahil alam ko masaklap ang naranas ninyo. Naghihirap na kayo ngayon dahil wala na yung asawa niyo, engineer..it’s up to you to decide kung mapapatawad nyo sila. Sinabi naman sa akin pag-iisipan nila. Bagamat initial reaction nila mabibitay din sa Mr. Lano. Sana may pagasa pa,” he said.