THE Philippine government is set to seal an agreement with China on opening its labor market to Filipinos, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to continue banning the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait.
“Maglagda kami ng bilateral agreement with China kung saan ay magpapadala rin tayo ng ating mga OFW (overseas Filipino workers),” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
Bello said the bilateral deal on deploying OFWs was supposed to be signed on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in November last year.
“Medyo humingi lang ng time ang China para pag-aralang maigi ‘yung lalagdaan namin na bilateral agreement pero ngayon ipagpapatuloy na namin ang pagpirma,” the Labor chief said.
Bello, however, did not specify when the agreement will be signed as it is still in the works.
Duterte earlier said he will ask China to “open its doors” to Filipino workers after the implementation of a temporary ban on deployment to Kuwait.
The DoLE issued Administrative Order No. 25 last week suspending the deployment of newly-hired Filipinos to the Gulf state.
With this, Bello said the government is looking for “alternative markets” for OFWs, such as China.
Duterte announced on Friday that the suspension of deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait would continue after the body of Filipino woman was found in a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.
Duterte deplored the death of Joanna Daniela Dimapilis as he appealed to Arab nations to treat Filipino workers with dignity and respect.
Filipinos in Kuwait, a top destination for migrant workers, mostly work as housemaids and nannies.