Press Release
September 23, 2011


Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada intends to look into the numerous reported tragic cases of deaths of overseas Filipino workers, as he is interested into learning what Philippine embassies and representations abroad have done, if any, to prevent these from happening.

Sen. Estrada, concurrent Chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Overseas Workers' Affairs, sympathizes with the family and relatives of OFWs whose bodies were recently repatriated.

One of these cases is the death of Joy Pampangan, 25, an OFW whose body was sent home a year after her questionable death from Jordan. Joy's body had nothing on except for a pair of adult diapers. Together with the body were three death certificates stating different dates, June 21, June 22 and July 22, 2010, which led to suspicions of foul play.

Another case of tragic death is that of Romilyn Ibanez, an OFW from Saudi Arabia, whose remains was returned this week mutilated and burned after a year of delay since her mysterious "acid burning" death.

"There should be a thorough investigation on the part of the Philippine Embassies in countries where our OFWs had been victims of brutal and unnerving maltreatment. We owe our modern heroes and fellow Filipinos justice and final resolution of their cases," Sen. Estrada asserted, as he wondered how many death cases were actually considered case closed.

An online report cites Migrante, a non-government organization of OFWs, to have recorded at least 15 cases as of February 2011, mostly involving women, of OFWs who died under mysterious circumstances and are considered unresolved.

Sen. Estrada pointed out that the recent amendment to the Migrant Workers' Act under Republic Act 10022 provides that the State through its official missions abroad must assess the overall working conditions in receiving countries of our migrant workers, and no OFW should be deployed to countries with unfavorable and unjust employment conditions.

"This refers not only to absence of wars or uprising, but also to the existence of social and labor laws as well as positive, concrete actions undertaken by the host countries in protecting the rights of migrant workers," Sen. Estrada elaborated.

"The heinous deaths of our kababayans must prompt embassy and labor officials to step up in its efforts to proactively protect our workers from abusive employers and illegal recruiters," stated Jinggoy.

News Latest News Feed