The family of the Pinay domestic helper whose body was recovered inside a freezer in Kuwait was seeking for justice. They appealed to the Philippine government for the repatriation of the OFW’s dead body as they grieve over her terrible death.
Joanna Daniela Demafelis was known by her family to be a good child as she selflessly helps them and supports them financially.
Her mother, Eva Demafelis appealed:
“Nagpanawaganakosagobyernongabuligan kami hatagan sang hustisyaangakonbata. (I am asking for help from the government’s to give justice for my daughter’s death)
Joanna’s father, Crisanto, recounted the time his daughter promised to save money in working abroad to be able to repair their house. With heavy heart, he said:
“Gusto ko yamabalik sa amon ang iya bangkay (I want her dead body to be brought back to us).”
Joanna left the Philippines in 2014 to work in Kuwait in her desire to help their family and support her siblings. At first, Joanna’s stay for 3 months went smoothly as they had maintained constant communication with each other.
In 2016, she called and informed them her intention to extend her contract for 1 more year. During that time, she was supporting the education of her younger sibling who is taking up criminology.
As years went by, their communication was lessened until they never heard anything from her since February 2017. That’s the time their family sought help from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to check on her condition.
OWWA claimed to do the best that they could and had exerted best efforts in to look for Joanna but they failed to find her because her agency had ceased operations.
The Kuwaiti authorities are currently holding an investigation to establish the date when Joanna died. Initially, the investigation revealed signs that the OFW had been tortured and strangled to death.
Joanna’s siblings are closely coordinating with OWWA in Manila for them to be able to bring home her remains to their hometown in Iloilo.
Meanwhile, OWWA is checking on Joanna’s membership to assist her family in processing her insurance and burial coverage including livelihood assistance to the bereaved family. The DFA is coordinating with Kuwaiti authorities for its official report as well.
Joanna’s case is one of the reasons why President Duterte considered deployment ban of OFWs to the Gulf State.
In his previous speech, the President also expressed his desire of withdrawing all Filipinos from Kuwait should another worker dies in their country.
The President had already ordered DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) to help in the repatriation of Filipino workers in Kuwait who want to go home. He also sought the help of local airlines to arrange flights for them.