OFW in Kuwait injured after trying to escape from employer – POEA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 5) – Another overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Kuwait was injured after falling from a window of her employer’s house to escape, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported.

According to POEA’s report dated Jan. 30, Myla Balbag fell from the third floor of her employer’s house in Hayteen Area.

“On Jan. 21, 2023, her female employer caught her doing Tiktok in her room and became furious. They wrestle for the phone and the employer later seized her phone and head set,” Welfare Officer Genevieve Ardiente said in a statement on Saturday.

After her employer confronted her, Balbag packed her belongings and tried to escape through the window.

She is currently in a hospital where she is being treated for multiple leg and spine fractures.

The POEA report did not specify what Balbag’s employer did to her.

Amid speculations that Balbag may have attempted to commit suicide, such an act, according to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Arnell Ignacio, is punishable under Kuwaiti law.

“Kung ikaw ay mag-a-attempt mag-suicide, ikaw pa rin ay makakasuhan...Bibigyan natin kaagad siya ng lawyer in case this will happen [If you attempt suicide, you will still be charged...We will give her a lawyer right away in case this will happen],” Ignacio told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Weekend, addressing reports that Balbag’s employer will file a case of attempted suicide against the OFW.

Ignacio assured her family that the OWWA will “intervene” to keep it from happening.

Meanwhile, Jullebee Ranara was laid to rest at the Golden Haven Memorial Park in Las Piñas City on Sunday.

Last Jan 21, the burnt body of 35-year-old domestic helper Jullebee Ranara was found in a desert in Kuwait. The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said Kuwaiti authorities have confirmed they have arrested the suspect — the son of Ranara's employer. An Arab Times report said autopsy showed that Ranara was pregnant.

READ: DMW vows justice for slain OFW in Kuwait

The Philippine government is not yet considering a suspension on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait following the death of Ranara in the Gulf state.

DMW Secretary Susan Ople earlier said the agency is looking into forming “additional safeguards” to ensure the safety of OFWs in Kuwait.

She also said the Department of Foreign Affairs wants to have bilateral talks with the Kuwaiti government rather than imposing a deployment ban.

“Kapag nag-impose kasi ng (if you impose a) deployment ban, you are sending a message that Kuwait is not suitable for workers,” she said.

“We are also considering the needs of the workers who are already there,” she added.

READ: DMW not considering Kuwait deployment ban after OFW slay, eyes ‘additional safeguards’

Meanwhile, Senator Raffy Tulfo, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers, wants to gradually pull out OFWs in Kuwait and transfer them to places where OFWs are properly compensated and treated with respect, like Guam.

He also pushed for the implementation of a tight screening process and psychiatric examinations for employers in high-risk countries for the protection of OFWs.

READ: Tulfo bats for total deployment ban in Kuwait