SUPER MAID OR SUPER VICTIM: The Case of OFW Jocelyn Dulnuan (R.I.P)

Who killed Jocelyn Dulnuan?

Jocelyn Dulnuan, a 27 year old criminology graduate from Ifugao province left her practically newborn baby to work in Canada. Two months ago, she was employed as a housemaid in a S15M mansion. On October 2, the mansion became the scene of a murder - hers.

Up to this time, the killer has not been identified.

Aside from the one being pursued by the Canadian authorities, I know someone else who did it. Call me a stupid lawyer. But this case is not just about who owned the hands that pulled the trigger or plunged the knife (Reports are not yet clear as to how Jocelyn was killed.). This case is also about why Jocelyn had to leave her baby to work abroad. What a terrible social cost!

This is the undeniable truth: There are no jobs in The Queen's Queendom. The other undeniable truth is that it is the responsibility of the State to create economic opportunities for its subjects. On this score, The Queen failed. Miserably. Hers is not an Enchanted Queendom. Hers is like Skar's kingdom in the movie, "The Lion King Part II." So Jocelyn had to move out, perhaps without a portent of the doom she would eventually meet. Perhaps, she heard of the ordeals of OFWs but so what? Poverty has no fear.

When The Queen ran in 2004, she promised to create jobs. Whew. After she became The Queen without the benefit of an election, did she? She says she did, but the jobs that her subjects found were jobs abroad. She sponsored overseas employment aggressively, but she did not put up structures or erect hedges to adequately protect OFW's from abuse. (Do not ever forget how her Queendom mishandled the OFW's funds being administered by OWWA.) She was, as she is, more interested in perpetuating her reign at all costs. She left job creation for her subjects to other governments.

Meantime, her Unenchanted Queendom's economy remained afloat, thanks to the OFWs, even while she raided the GSIS' coffers so she could buy votes in 2004. In 2006, the total amount of OFW remittances was officially recorded at $12.8 billion, just above 10 percent of the GDP. The Philippines is now the world's third highest remittance-recipient country after India and Mexico, and the highest when remittances are measured as ratios to population, GDP and exports.

Last year, The Queen proudly launched her Super Maid policy, very much like FVR's Bagong Bayani policy under which Filipinos seeking jobs as housemaids abroad should first obtain training certificates and be registered as super maids. It is a super-exploitative policy. It is killing Jocelyn over again.

Fellow blogger Bill Bilig, Jr. eloquently dissected Jocelyn's case in Jocelyn and Julia: A Tale of Two Women:

When Julia Campbell was killed in Ifugao, the Philippine government moved heaven and earth to be of help.Gloria Arroyo, with her trademark faux sympathy, said something like: "We will give 110% to help her and her family. We will do everything we can." Hundreds of Cordillera police officers were sent to Ifugao to look for Julia... And Congress officially honored her as a hero. Well and good. When Jocelyn Dulnuan, our kailiyan from Ifugao, was killed in Toronto, do you know how the Philippine consulate in Toronto responded to requests for help?According to a source, consulate officials said something like: "Duh, she is not registered with the OWWA, so we can't help you.

Okay, we added "duh" for effect. But, other than that, those are the words spoken by our consular officials. Now, it is words like that which tempts us to throw away our advocacy for non-violence. Maybe we should get those officials and drop them from Toronto's CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the whole world. Or maybe we should send said officials to the mental institution at Queen's Street... Anyway, as stated above, the reason why the OWWA cannot help Jocelyn is the fact that she did not register with said agency.

Quotable quotes from the Philippine consulate in Toronto:

"If the person came direct from the Philippines, then they would have registered and paid their dues at the airport. But because this girl came from Hongkong, then she should have registered when she got here."

Our source pointed out to said consular officials that Jocelyn paid her dues, and thus registered, when she left the Philippines to go to Hongkong. Sadly, such fact apparently does not count. So let us get this clear: Jocelyn paid whatever it is that OWWA collects at the airport from departing OFWs when she left for Hongkong. But OWWA insists that she is not registered with them because she didn't pay anything when she moved from Hongkong to Canada. Wow, technicality, what a way to wash your hands off. So how did our source react to our consular official's insistence on technicality. Here's what she told us:

So I told them that they need to put it in their responsibility list to ensure the OFWs get educated on the importance of "registering" and make it so.

Exactly. We agree with her 110%. This strict interpretation of the registration requirement is really silly. Too often, it is used by our government officials to turn away from their responsibility to protect Filipino citizens. Eh klarong-klaro na OFW, ano pang hahanapin mo?

Actually, these consular officials are like the bus conductors or waiters who insist that old people present a certification proving that they are senior citizens before they are given the discounted rates for senior citizens. An old friend got so exasperated with this silliness so she shouted: "Eh obvious na matanda ang tao, hahanapan mo pa ng proof na siya ay matanda." We can excuse those bus conductors and waiters because they are most probably doing what their employers, who are in the business of making money, told them to do. However, it's hard to find an excuse for our consular official's insistence that an OFW must first be registered with OWWA (in the manner of registration they prescribe) before they lend a helping hand. To paraphrase our friend: "Eh obvious na OFW yung tao, hahanapan mo pa ng proof na siya ay OFW. Because the Philippine consulate is officially not helping (hopefully it will help unofficially), our kailiyans in Toronto are banding together to help raise funds to bring Jocelyn home.

From our source:

So at the moment, we are depending on the good hearts of citizens to raise over 15,000 dollars to send the body home. Since an ash is not going to do. I am asking help from all the Filipino associations and I just hope they will help.

In ending, let's go back to the tales of Julia and Jocelyn. We are glad that the Philippine government did everything it could in the Julia Campbell case. But we are quite sad to hear of the Philippine consulate's insistence on a stupid registration requirement in response to calls for help for Jocelyn Dulnuan.What foolishness in this worst of times.

Very well said, Bill. As a belated reaction, the DFA officials directed the Toronto consulate to extend full support to Jocelyn. But as Bill says, "Full support should include assuming responsibility in repatriating Jocelyn's body. Thank heavens. But we'll see if it isn't just for press release."

(Bill reported later that the Philippine consulate in Toronto pledged S5,000. Why not the entire $15,000? Anyway, the consulate's change of heart is thanks to the kailians and kababayans in Canada, the media and bloggers who did not let up in pursuing Jocelyn's case. Sadly, in the Philippine print media department, it seems that it is only Vince Cabreza of the Philippine Daily Inquirer who worked hard to give this tragedy the national attention it deserves. I could be wrong, though. But I am certain it was he who first wrote about this tragedy in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.)

Back to the question: Who killed Jocelyn Dulnuan?

Her blood is on The Queen's hands.


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Here is a poem I wrote in the 1990s to express my disgust over FVR's Bagong Bayani Policy. I feel the same about GMA's Super Maid program. I feel my disgust over again because of Jocelyn's death.


Salt on Wound

When nature liberated its anger
its air stream unbridled its muscle
scattering leaves to all directions
deracinating life-giving verdure
Some plants were robbed of life on
the soil of their birth and youth
Others were swept to faraway
shores where they withered away
or struggled to reclaim animation.

Such is the blight of poverty you
nurture like a favorite pet in this
land you call your principality
It flings your people to the globe’s far
corners ramming them out of their homes,
away from their spouses’ embrace
You have orphaned the children
while their parents are still alive
Babies who yearn for a mother’s touch
grow up suddenly in the night; in the
morrow, they are acquainted with life’s
harshness forbidden in an infant’s world
The cradle has abruptly shrank for them.
Homes have been shattered into minute
slivers they could not be pieced together.

There you are- smoking cigar, counting the
gold wired to your kingdom’s coffers and
your elation reverberates throughout
the archipelago taunting loneliness and despair.
You ridicule the tears of the mothers as
they slave on foreign shores for the stomach
ignoring the yearnings of the heart.
You jeer at the anguish of the father
who has not witnessed the birth of his daughter
and her metamorphosis into womanhood.

Why do you call them heroes
when they are your victims?

cheryl daytec/ 12 June 1996
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