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DoLE orders total OFW deployment ban to Kuwait

  • Written by Lee Ann P. Ducusin With Cristina Lee-Pisco
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 301

THE Department of Labor and Employment yesterday ordered a total ban on the deployment of overseas
Filipino workers to Kuwait, days after the body of a Filipina was found in a freezer in an abandoned
apartment unit.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III signed Administrative Order No. 54, Series of 2018.

“In pursuit of national interest, and with the advent of the series of reports involving
abuse and death of Overseas Filipino Workers in Kuwait, a total ban on deployment of all overseas
Filipino workers to Kuwait pursuant to the directive of the President of the Philippines is hereby
enforced,” he said in the order.
    
Bello announced the order during a press conference joined by the family of Joanna
Dimapilis, the Filipina found in the freezer.
    
Prior to the total ban, the government has suspended the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait
following reports of abuses, some of them resulting in deaths.

The ban was in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte's directive to Bello.
    
Duterte has asked Filipino workers in Kuwait who are distressed or wish to return home to
take advantage of the free flights that will be afforded them in 72 hours.
    
An estimated 250,000 Filipinos are working in Kuwait, 75 percent of which are household
service workers.
    
The DoLE is mulling if they will still allow Filipino workers vacationing in the Philippines
to return to Kuwait.
    
Meanwhile, Malacañang said Filipinos already working in Kuwait may stay if they have no
complaints about their employers.

800 OFWS RETURN FROM KUWAIT

Some 800 OFWs were repatriated from Kuwait in batches.
    
Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and DoLE led by Foreign Affairs
Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola welcomed the first batch of 377 workers
who were repatriated on three commercial flights that left Kuwait Sunday afternoon.
    
According to Arriola, the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in
Kuwait are now rushing to repatriate as many as 10,000 overstaying Filipinos who are expected to
avail the amnesty program.
    
“The Embassy and POLO in Kuwait expect that more than 10,000 Filipinos who have overstayed
their visas are qualified for repatriation,”  Arriola said.
    
According to Bello, hundreds of Filipinos have been coming to the Embassy daily to register
and initiate the process for their repatriation since the first day of the amnesty on 29 January.
    
“To date, some 2,229 Filipinos have been issued travel documents, and 1,754 already have
been granted immigration clearances,” Bello said.
    
Bello said they have made arrangements with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific for the
repatriation of those already issued travel documents and all those who want to return to the
country.
    
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said they have requested the full cooperation
of Kuwaiti officials with the Philippine Embassy to promote the well-being of Filipino workers and
facilitating the early conclusion of a bilateral labor agreement to protect the rights of Filipino
household service workers there.
    
The draft on the bilateral labor agreement is still with Kuwait but they have yet to sign
the document.
    
Cayetano and Bello said both agencies will implement the President’s instructions to ensure
the protection of the rights and the promotion of the welfare of overseas Filipino workers not just
in Kuwait but also in other parts of the world.