Cyprus Mail

Filipino community calls for justice over death of women

Filipinas at a service to mourn the dead women in Nicosia on Sunday (CNA)

The Filipino community of Cyprus have called for the just punishment of whoever killed two of their compatriots whose bodies were found last week dumped in a shaft of an abandoned mine in Mitsero.

Police are still searching to locate the body of the six-year-old daughter of one of the two women, after a 35-year-old man admitted to killing the girl and her mother, Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38.

The body of Tiburcio was found in the mine shaft a week ago, and in efforts to locate her daughter, authorities found another body on Saturday, widely believed to be that of 28-year-old  Arian Palanas Lozano. Both women were from the Philippines and had been reported as missing, Tiburcio and her daughter since last May and Lozano since last July.

The suspect reportedly admitted to murdering both women.

The Filipino community held a vigil in Nicosia on Sunday in the memory of the two women, attended also by many Cypriots.

According to the chairperson of the Federation of Filipino Organisations of Cyprus, Ester Beatty, Lozano was the breadwinner of her family.

“She used to send money to her family in the Philippines, her mother is blind and unwell,” Beatty told the Cyprus Mail.

Following the latest revelations, she said, the Filipino community on the island are feeling very nervous and people are urging each other on social media to be cautious and avoid meeting people they don’t know.

The two women reportedly met with the suspect through an online dating application.

She said she hoped that whoever killed the two women will get life imprisonment for their actions.

Ray O. Bayson, volunteer leader of the Filippino community in Cyprus, told the Cyprus Mail that the deaths were tragic.

“The death penalty must be applied for this unspeakable act of evil,” Bayson said.

He added the community now suspects that another of their compatriots, a 30-year-old woman who went missing in December 2017, could have also been a victim of the suspect as her friends said she was probably chatting with him.

The woman in question was reported missing from her Nicosia residence in mid-December 2017 and is also included in the police list of missing persons.

The community, Beatty said, is disappointed by the way authorities have dealt with the disappearance of these women because they did not investigate further when they were first reported as missing.

“They said they probably crossed to the north. Now it has come to this,” she said.

Beatty said that there has been some improvement when it comes to the treatment of domestic workers from the Philippines but that some still treat them as slaves.

They get as little as €400 per month, she said, and are expected to work from early morning until late at night. Workers living in their employers’ homes are often expected to work the entire day until they go to bed, she said, adding that in some cases they don’t even get enough food.

Beatty added that there are of course good employers who take good care of their domestic workers.

Meanwhile, Limassol Intercultural Council which is the migrants’ consultative body to the Municipality of Limassol, said on Monday that they have been constantly informed by its members, the Filipino Workers’ Association, as well as Vietnam community representatives about a number of missing persons, mainly women, originating from those two communities.

“It seems that a number of those cases have not been investigated in depth,” the group said.

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