MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Department of Labor and Employment on Friday assured assistance for an overseas Filipino worker sentenced to death in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly killing her employer.
DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the department will extend help even if Jennifer Dalquez is not an act
ive member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
Baldoz also assured similar assistance to OFW Anita Tonogbanua, who has a pending theft case in Canada.
“Although Jennifer Dalquez and Anita Tonogbanua are not active members of the (OWWA), the DOLE will still provide assistance to them and their families,” she said.
Baldoz also said the DOLE “will do everything we can to help (Dalquez and Tonogbanua) and their families while they go through their ordeals.”
The DOLE cited current rules where migrant workers who cannot renew or update their OWWA membership are not entitled to social benefits.
Such social benefits include life insurance, education/training assistance benefits, and some workers welfare assistance benefits.
While OWWA rules allow legal and other assistance only to members of the agency, Baldoz said she instructed the OWWA and the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in the UAE and Canada to provide the two OFWs on-site assistance and services.
“Whether the OFW is regular/documented or irregular/undocumented, he or she will be provided with free legal advice and in-country assistance, such as the preparation of supporting documentation. They can also avail of loans under the P2 Billion Reintegration Program for OFWs,” she said.
Citing Department of Foreign Affairs information, the DOLE said Dalquez, 28, a native of General Santos City, will appeal her sentence.
Tonogbanua can also receive legal aid through the Assistance to National Unit of the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa.
Canada’s Border Service Agency arrested Tonogbanua last April 27 via a search warrant in 2009. She received a Deportation Notice in 2010.
Tonogbanua was arrested after her employer in Hong Kong filed a theft case against her. (MNS)