Banning the deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait may lead to the proliferation of illegal recruitment, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
“A downside of banning the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait is the rise of illegal recruitment,” Bello said.
He said rules and regulations must be tightened to curb illegal recruitment.
The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) said it would finalize over the weekend an order banning the deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait.
Bello will meet with senior labor officials on Monday to thresh out the details of the order.
Cases of abuse
The ban came in the wake of the high number of reported deaths of Filipino domestic workers in the oil-rich country.
“Lately in two months time, seven died—three by suicide, two by charcoal poisoning, one caught in love triangle, one was found inside a freezer. There is really a need to look into these cases and the President made a very bold decision,” Bello said.
The President’s order for the repatriation of abused Filipinos from Kuwait came after police found the body of domestic helper Joanna Daniela Demafelis inside a freezer at an abandoned apartment in Kuwait City last week.
The Demafelis family said Joanna went to Kuwait in 2014 and was planning to come home this year. Kuwaiti police said she died and was then stuffed inside the freezer more than a year ago.
On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at Kuwait anew over the reported abuses being committed against overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
During his tirade, Mr. Duterte even questioned the values and culture of Kuwaitis.
Migrante International said the government of Kuwait was not solely to blame for the alleged abuses against migrant workers.
“Protecting our OFWs is the primary responsibility of the Philippine government. It should ensure that OFW rights are being respected by the Kuwaiti government and by employers,” said Migrante spokesperson Arman Hernando.
Instead of solely blaming Kuwait, Migrante said the Duterte administration should evaluate the performance of its officials in Kuwait.
According to Migrante, the return of OFWs from Kuwait will only pose more problems as there are no good-paying jobs awaiting them here.
“Meager salaries and contractual jobs are the only ones available in the country,” Hernando said.
“And if they return, the prevailing circumstances will only force them to return to Kuwait, other Middle East countries, or anywhere else where there are jobs available,” he added.