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by | TOP STORIES

Emotions overflowed at the Iloilo International Airport early Saturday morning when the remains of overseas Filipino worker Joanna Demafelis enclosed in a wooden box arrived.

Upon seeing the crate, Joanna’s sister Jessica broke down in tears and hugged the box that contained the lifeless body.  

Joanna left the country in 2015 to work in Kuwait, with proper documentation, to sustain the needs of her family. However, she was only able to communicate with her family every three months. The last time Joanna conversed to her family was in September 2016.

In December that year, the Demafelis family informed the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) about her disappearance but records indicate that the official report was made in February 2017.

The authorities attempted to coordinate with Joanna’s recruitment agency but it had already closed down.

Last week, the OFW’s corpse was found by Kuwaiti authorities inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment unit formerly occupied by Joanna’s employers, a male Lebanese and his Syrian wife.

Kuwait authorities said that the couple reported  to the police that Joanna ran away from their home. The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait believed the couple did this in an attempt to cover up a crime.

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Pedro Villa cited an autopsy report that Joanna died to severe beating allegedly at the hands of her employer. The report indicated that the 29-year old worker suffered from several broken ribs and contusion and trauma in the pelvis and kidney area. Internal bleeding was also seen.

The autopsy also revealed that Joanna was already dead when she was put inside the freezer in November 2016.

Manhunt operations have already been launched by Kuwaiti law enforcement authorities against Demafelis’ former employers. Kuwait’s Minister of Interior has asked Interpol to look for the couple in Lebanon and Syria.

The Demafelis family asks for prayers and demands justice for the loved one they lost.

“Sana mahanap na nila ‘yung pumatay sa kapatid ko po. Kawalan po siya sa amin po dahil ‘yung mga pangarap niya. Ang sinasabi niya sa mother po namin na kaya siya umalis dahil gusto niyang matulungan ang mga magulang namin at ang bunso naming kapatid,” said Joejet, Joanna’s brother, told the media at the NAIA.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and labor officials joined the mourning Demafelis family at the airport. He told the media that the Kuwaiti government pledged to take all necessary steps to resolve Joanna’s case.

“I spoke to the Kuwaiti Ambassador yesterday and they said that their government is outraged. They will do everything to bring the accused to justice and her death will also be a rallying point for all government agencies to be more aggressive abroad,” said Cayetano.

Meanwhile, Malacanang assured the government’s commitment to provide assistance to the family of Demafelis.

“Mayroon po tayong standard na binibigay – ang OWWA – sa mga ganitong mga nakakalungkot na pangyayari… So mayroon pong panghanap-buhay, mayroon pong educational benefits para sa mga naiwan, at titingnan pa natin kung madadagdagan pa iyong standard na tulong na binibigay,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said.
“[A]ng Presidente naman ay kung mayroong mabibigay, ibibigay po,” he added.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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