Dole clarifies: OFWs with tickets, OECs for Kuwait can leave

: WRAPPED / NOVEMBER 1, 2015 Departing OFW's with their wrapped baggage wait in line to check in at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 1 on Monday, November 2, 2015. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Kuwait-bound Filipino workers who already have plane tickets and overseas employment certificates (OECs) would be allowed to proceed to the emirate, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) clarified on Saturday.

But new OEC applications would no longer be processed after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced the suspension of deployment to the emirate on Friday.

“Those who already have their plane tickets and OECs are not covered by the suspension of deployment,” said Dole spokesperson Raul Francia.

“Once all the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) with OECs have been deployed, there will be no more deployment to Kuwait since the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) is no longer processing OECs,” Francia added.

He said Bello’s Administrative Order No. 25 directed the POEA to suspend the issuance of OECs effective immediately.

Bello announced the suspension after President Duterte revealed he was studying a deployment ban for Kuwait because of abuses and maltreatment of Filipino workers, mentioning four such instances.

Kuwait Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah expressed “surprise and sorrow” at the deployment ban.

“We have begun immediate contacts with Filipino authorities to examine the extent of this statement and to try to refute the erroneous information that came in it,” Kuwait News Agency quoted al-Jarallah as saying.

Al-Jarallah said all the 170,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait were protected by laws that shielded them from abuse. —WITH A REPORT FROM REUTERS


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