Slain overseas worker’s family receives nearly a million peso assistance

NORALA, South Cotabato (MindaNews / 11 January) — The family of Jeanelyn Villavende, the 26-year old household service worker who was allegedly beaten to death by her employers in Kuwait, received on Friday nearly a million pesos in financial assistance from government agencies and an insurance firm..

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III personally handed over at least five checks from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and an insurance company to the victim’s father, Abelardo, during a visit at her wake in Purok Guimbal, Barangay Tinago here.

The casket of Jeanelyn Villavende, the household service worker killed in Kuwait, arrives at the house of her grandmother in Barangay Tinago, Norala, South Cotabato on January 10, 2020. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

The OWWA released PhP 200,000 for Jeanelyn’s social benefits, PhP 20,000 for burial assistance, PhP 10,000 as financial assistance and PhP 5,000 scholarship assistance for the victim’s 11-year-old sister Akina Marie.

Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corp., represented by its General Santos City branch manager Jefferson Lee, released through Bello the insurance benefit of Jeanelyn worth US$ 15,000 or equivalent to PhP 762,000.

Bello said the insurance policy is a mandatory requirement of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the OWWA for Filipinos working abroad.

“We know that the money will not will not bring back the life of Jeanelyn but it will somehow help her family. It is important that she will be given justice as ordered by President (Rodrigo) Duterte,” he said in a press conference here.

Hans Leo Cacdac, OWWA administrator, said they will continue to look after the victim’s family and make sure that all the necessary assistance will be given to them.

He reiterated that the government will support the Villavende family on their quest for justice over Jeanelyn’s untimely and tragic death.

“We’re here to ensure that her loved ones are properly taken care of,” said Cacdac, who visited the victim’s family for the second time since last week.

Kristine Marie Sison, officer-in-charge of OWWA-Region 12, said Jeanelyn’s recruiter, 5 Star Recruitment and Manpower Corp., had released initial financial assistance to the family last week.

She said they are working with the recruitment agency for the payment of the victim’s funeral services and burial package worth PhP 220,000.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Region 12 released late last week a financial assistance of PhP 10,000 and five boxes of family food packs to the Villavende family.

On Friday, Deputy House Speaker for Mindanao and South Cotabato second district Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez handed over to the family a cash assistance of PhP 41,000 from the Association of Job Recruitment Agencies and an undisclosed personal donation.

Nelly Padernal, aunt and stepmother of Jeanelyn,  thanked government for taking care of their family in the wake of their predicament.

“This is a really huge help to us. It makes our burden less difficult to carry,” she said.

Jeanelyn’s remains arrived here on Thursday, a day after her repatriation from Kuwait through the efforts of DOLE and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

She will be laid to rest at the municipal cemetery on January 23. (MindaNews)