MANILA -- The Washington-based US Pinoys for Real Change in the Philippines (USPRCP) and the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) on Monday condemned the murder of household service worker Constancia Lago Dayag in Kuwait.
In an e-mail to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Arnedo S. Valera, chairperson of the USPRCP and executive director of MHC in Washington DC said the killing of Dayag was “so revolting that we cannot bring ourselves to put it in words.”
“We join those who grieve over her murder, and the physical and mental torture that preceded it,” said Valera, adding that "a nation’s soul still remains profoundly wounded from a previous tragedy”.
Valera was referring to a tragic incident in February 2018, when the body of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Daniela Demafelis was found stored in a freezer of an abandoned apartment belonging to a couple who had hired her.
Demafelis’ murder set off a nationwide outrage and a diplomatic row between the Philippines and Kuwait. The OFW's murder prompted President Rodrigo R. Duterte back then to ban Filipinos from working in Kuwait.
After the two countries agreed on measures to regulate the employment of OFWs, Duterte lifted the ban.
Dayag was allegedly physically and sexually assaulted. Initial reports received by the Philippine Embassy said Dayag, 47, of Agadanan, Isabela was rushed at the hospital noon of May 14 but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Like any OFW, Constancia left the Philippines to work in a foreign land to provide a better future for her family, Valera said.
“Like all OFWs, Constancia experienced untold hardships, toiled and sacrificed day in and day out, and endured homesickness for the sake of family and loved ones back home,” Valera said.
Valera, a noted migration lawyer based in Washington asked President Rodrigo R. Duterte to call for a summit meeting with Kuwait Prime Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to address the security and protection, as well as the rights and well-being of OFWs in Kuwait.
"We welcome the news that President Duterte is taking steps to impose a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers in Kuwait. We believe that he will swiftly act on this, for by his words and actions, President Duterte has been a true champion of our OFWs. We urge him, however, to make this a permanent ban," he said.
He also called on the Kuwaiti government to probe Dayag's case, arrest the perpetrator and mete out the stiffest penalty in accordance with Kuwait’s judicial system.
Valera also called on the “Kuwaiti government to convey its profound apology to the Philippine nation and our people, and to the family of Constancia Dayag, and to indemnify the family, especially her children".
The Philippine embassy in Kuwait is working closely with authorities in the ongoing investigation of the killing of Dayag. (PNA)