Gabriela Women’s Representative Luzviminda C. Ilagan asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to exhaust all efforts to help an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) illegally detained in Kuwait.
In a letter to DFA Sec. Alberto G. Romulo, Ilagan asked the department to provide immediate assistance to Amando Abando, an automotive mechanic who was arrested last February by Kuwaiti police for allegedly acting “lasciviously” .
He is still held as a prisoner in a Kuwaiti jail for unknown reasons. Abando’s family was informed of his whereabouts through seven former detainees in the Middle Eastern country who had recently been repatriated.
Abando left the country in June 2004 to work for the Arabian Motors Group W.L.L. He transferred to another company after his contract ended and a negotiation with his previous employer to increase his salary failed.
His wife, Ma. Luz Abando, came to the women’s partylist representative’ s office to seek help for her husband’s repatriation, after the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the DFA allegedly ignored her calls for help.
“The Philippine government should work for the immediate release and repatriation not only of Amando Abando, but of all Filipinos detained in other countries,” she said.
The Philippine government hails the OFWs as heroes as their remittances keep the economy afloat. For the first quarter of this year, the overseas workers have remitted $4 billion.
“All the Philippine government can do is to secure the safety and welfare of its heroes and protect them against all kinds of abuses and exploitation, ” Ilagan said.
As of the first quarter of 2008, 206 Filipinos have been detained in different countries abroad, 21 of which are in the deathrow.