Villanueva to DOLE: Temporarily suspend deployment of OFWs to Kuwait
Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday joined calls for a temporary suspension of the deployment of household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait following reports of abuses against overseas Filipino workers there.
“I support the call of OFW advocacy groups urging the government to suspend deployment of household workers in Kuwait,” Villanueva, chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, said in a statement.
“We have been receiving numerous cases of abuse against our OFWs, and I deem it urgent for the government to temporarily stop sending domestic workers in countries where they are not being treated properly,” he said.
The senator, in particular, urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to issue a temporary suspension following reports that another OFW, Amy Capulong Santiago, was beaten to death by her Kuwaiti employers. Santiago reportedly died the same day OFW Jakatia Pawa was executed by hanging on January 25, 2017.
Villanueva also urged DOLE and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to review their policies in sending migrant workers abroad and look at ways on how to improve their assistance and protection to affected OFWs.
The two agencies, he said, should track the incidence of abuse and automatically issue a moratorium in sending workers to countries with high incidence of abuse.
“Our primary concern should be the lives and safety of our workers. It should be automatic for the government to suspend the sending of workers in countries that do not treat our workers properly. We should not wait for someone to die for us to act on this,” the senator said.
He also pointed out reports that in Kuwait alone, there were at least 500 distressed OFWs who spent their New Year at government offices in Kuwait due to reported abuses against them by their employers.
“Our OFWs have already been sacrificing so much to provide for their families in the Philippines. Let us not further aggravate their suffering by turning a blind eye on the abuses being committed against them by their employers. I deem it imperative to act on these incidents,” Villanueva added. JE