THE Department of Labor and Employment is considering imposing a temporary suspension of deployment of Filipino household service workers in Kuwait.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said imposing a moratorium has become a stronger possibility following the execution last week of overseas Filipino worker Jakatia Pawa.
Bello said there has been growing calls for a moratorium due to the abuses experienced by OFWs, particularly female household service workers.
“We are taking this call for a moratorium seriously. We will conduct consultations with our partners and other government agencies,” said Bello who flew to Kuwait from Rome to check on the status of another Filipino on death row.
Elpidio Lano was meted the death sentence by the Kuwait Court of First Instance for killing a fellow Filipino, Nilo Macaranas on June 17, 2014.
The labor chief said there is an urgent need to curb unfortunate incidents befalling OFWs.
“We will make a decision on the proposed moratorium soon. Our OFWs leave the country with the promise of a better life for their families, unfortunately they are confronted with their worst nightmare in these countries,” he stressed.
Bello also directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to fast-track the facilitation of documents needed by the family of Jakatia Pawa for them to visit her grave in Kuwait.
“We will give them all the assistance they needed if and when the family decides to go to Kuwait,” he said.
The labor chief disclosed that Pawa’s family have yet to decide when to leave for Kuwait.
“Inaantay lang ang kanilang desisyon kung kailan nila gustong magpunta ng Kuwait. Kami ay narito naman para asikasuhin ang kanilang pangangailangan,” he said.
Bello added that he had already instructed the OWWA to expedite the provision of financial and livelihood assistance to the family of Pawa.
CBCP NIXES BAN PLAN
Meanwhile, a Catholic bishop said the DoLE should reconsider its plan to ban the deployment of Filipino domestic helpers to Kuwait.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the government should instead make good on its promise to provide alternative or permanent jobs to all Filipinos so that they will not be forced to work abroad.
“Temporarily banning works in Kuwait is not the answer, it will just create difficulties to our people,” said Santos, who chairs the CBCP’s Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
The bishop also called on the government to make sure the needs of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are given proper attention.
“We have to accompany and always assist our OFWs there, be always available to them and attend to their needs-legal, economic and spiritual,” he added.
He also said the Church’s migrants ministry is also doing its best to help the OFWs.
“In Kuwait we have three Catholic Churches: Holy Family, St. Theresa and Our Lady of Arabia,” Santos said.
Last Wednesday, Filipina domestic helper Jakatia Pawa was executed for the murder of her employer’s daughter in 2007.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are exerting all efforts to save another OFW death convict Elpidio Lano who was found guilty by a Kuwaiti court of killing Filipino Nilo Macaranas in 2014.