KUWAIT has informally agreed to Manila’s demands for the protection of over 250,000 Filipinos in the Middle East country, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said yesterday.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month banned the deployment of new OFWs to oil-rich Kuwait after Filipina maid Joanna Demafelis was found dead in a freezer.
Bello had said the ban may be lifted if Kuwait signs a pact banning its nationals from confiscating the passports and changing the place of work of OFWs.
“Informally, pumayag sila doon sa mga suggested additional provision for the protection of our workers. Ngayon, pupunta ang kanilang representative dito para i-finalize na po ang draft ng memorandum of agreement,” he said.
Recruitment agencies will risk losing their license to operate if they fail to ensure that employers comply with the pact, he added.
Bello said he will brief all labor officers in the Middle East on protecting OFWs when he signs the accord with Kuwait.
There are some 2 million Filipinos working in the region, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy, according to government data.
‘Save our jobs’
Hundreds of skilled OFWs are reiterating their appeal to Labor Secretary Bello to lift the total ban on deployment of OFWs to Kuwait since they are covered by a separate law for the private sector in Kuwait and are not part of the Memorandum of Understanding DoLE is negotiating with Kuwait Labor Officials.
Bello has announced on radio that Kuwait has “informally” accepted the new provisions for additional protection of Household Service Workers (HSWs) and DoLE is just waiting for Kuwaiti labor officials to arrive this week to finalize the draft agreement which will be signed by him in Kuwait this month.
The formal signing of the MOU by Philippine and Kuwait Labor officials may pave the way for the lifting of the ban on deployment of OFWs to Kuwait.
Thousands of HSWs have lost their opportunity to work in Kuwait since the ban was implemented last January 22, their visas have expired and so too their medical results which are among the requirements for the issuance of a work permit from the Kuwait Embassy.
Meanwhile, hundreds of skilled OFWs who are affected by the total deployment ban to Kuwait are appealing to the government to “save our jobs” as the ban enters it’s sixth week.
Recruitment consultant and migration expert Emmanuel S. Geslani urges Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to reconsider his decision to continue the deployment ban to Kuwait which includes skilled workers who appealed to him this week to allow them to leave for their waiting jobs in Kuwait.
These skilled workers are Oil and gas engineers, I.T professionals, nurses, medical and laboratory technicians, store mangers, sales personnel, communication technicians, maintenance personnel electricians, plumbers, carpenters who have been issued visas and are just awaiting their plane tickers from their employers. However since January 22, 2018 when the administrative order was signed by Sec. Bello to stop the processing of OECs for all new hires for both skilled and household service workers the world has stopped for them for the past month with no solution in sight.