OFW rights advocacy groups plead with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to “spare vacationing Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) from extrajudicial killing.” This was following the arrest, torture, and death of Mark Culata, an OFW based in Saudi Arabia, on September 9 of this year.
Culata was visiting his family in the Philippines and was about to return to his work in Saudi Arabia. However, during his visit, he was arrested by police at a motorcycle checkpoint caught on CCTV footage. There was no record of Culata’s arrest, and his body had been found the next day.
The family members of Culata sought the help of the VACC (Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption) after the body had been found with obvious signs of torture and abuse.
The Cavite police have also investigated the case, with the filed complaint against 4 police officers of their unit of whom were identified in the CCTV footage. Culata’s body was found in Barangay Lambingan, Tanza, Cavite, with the sign “pusher ako” placed near the corpse. This has been associated with previous extrajudicial killings.
(source via ABS-CBN news)
The news sparked fear amongst the OFW community.
OFWs for Peace Coalition and The United Overseas Filipinos Worldwide’s lead covenor, John Monterona, criticized the president’s war on drugs, stating “killing is not an acceptable crime control”. Monterona says that although they are supporting the Duterte administration’s campaign versus illegal drugs, they will not tolerate the killing of innocent people during the process.
One of the main concerns of the groups is that this may strike fear in the hearts of Filipino overseas workers, who may decide against returning to the Philippines for Christmas. Their groups ended their press release by saying that they challenge the present administration “to file appropriate cases versus government authorities who have summarily executed its victims”.
(source article via Human Rights Watch Organization)