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Para di maulit si Jakatia Pawa: Castelo seeks inventory of jailed OFWs abroad

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The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) must submit to Congress a complete inventory of OFWs in jails or those facing cases abroad, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said on Sunday (February 5).

He said it is important to review all these cases and map out a comprehensive legal assistance program combined with diplomacy to avert future executions of OFWs convicted of crimes in other countries.

“Lagi na lang tayong nabubulaga na meron na palang bibitayin in a few days,” Castelo said, referring to the case of Jakatia Pawa, who was hanged in Kuwait last week.

He said Congress needs to know the readiness and competence of OWWA and the DFA in addressing this perennial problem.

“We would like to find out exactly how many OFWs have been convicted or undergoing trial, the nature of their cases, the penalty they are facing, what can be done to help them,” Castelo said.

Each case would be different and would require a different approach, he added, stressing that the DFA and OWWA should have a plan for each.

“Kung kulang ang pondo nila, they should tell Congress so we can make the appropriation for a legal defense fund for OFWs,” noted the politiko.

OWWA and DFA, the lawmaker added, should also present to Congress what efforts they are doing to prevent OFWs from being involved in crimes abroad or from being victimized by abusive employers that cause them to commit crimes.