Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Kuwait City: The mysterious death of a Filipina domestic worker in Kuwait has renewed tensions between the Gulf country and the Philippines, with a senior Philippine official hinting at re-imposing a ban on sending Filipinos to Kuwait.

The 47-year-old housemaid, identified as Constancia Lago Dayag, was taken to the Al-Sabah hospital in Kuwait this week after her death amid allegations she had been sexually abused and fatally beaten by her Kuwaiti employer.

Kuwaiti police arrested the 60-year-old employer for questioning, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas reported on Sunday.

A medical forensic report on the cause of Dayag’s death has not been issued yet.

An initial examination of the woman’s body indicated that her death was natural and there is no criminal cause behind it, the paper said, citing unidentified sources.

The Philippine embassy in Kuwait said that it does not know the real cause of the woman’s death and requested the Kuwaiti forensics authorities to expedite the release of the forensic report, which is usually processed within four to six weeks.

More on the matter

Philippines’ Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III, meanwhile, hinted at the possibility of re-imposing a ban on the dispatch of domestic workers to Kuwait over Dayag’s death.

Commenting on the case, Kuwaiti Minister of State for Economic Affairs Maryam Al Aqeel said on Saturday that investigations are ongoing into the worker’s death and vowed punishment “if assault is proven”.

The minister stressed Kuwait’s keenness to protect foreign workers.

“Kuwaiti does not allow any violation of any foreign worker’ rights,” she added.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry also said that it is following “with interest and sorrow” the case.

“Friendly Philippine authorities will be informed of the course and results of the inquiry,” the ministry said in a statement.

Last year the Philippines banned its nationals from working in Kuwait over alleged abuses after a dead Filipina was found stuffed in a freezer inside an apartment in Kuwait.

The ban was later lifted amid a thaw in ties between the two countries after they signed an agreement regulating the employment of domestic workers in Kuwait.

The oil-rich country is home to a large community of migrant workers.