PH issues total ban on deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait

An irate President Rodrigo Duterte shows photos of Filipino workers who were reportedly abused in Kuwait during his speech at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (Photo from Malacañang)

The Philippine government has issued a total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait upon the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed on Monday an administrative order on the total deployment ban to implement Mr. Duterte’s directive, which came in the midst of investigations on seven Filipino household workers killed in Kuwait.

Among those seven cases was the case of Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found inside the freezer of her employers in the Gulf State.

“In pursuit of national interest and with of the series of reports involving abuse and death of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, a total ban on deployment of all OFWs to Kuwait pursuant to the directive of the President of the Philippines is hereby enforced,” Bello said in a media briefing

The total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait takes effect immediately, Bello added.

In a joint statement also issued on Monday, Bello and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that Mr. Duterte’s directive for a ban would ensure the safety of OFWs in Kuwait.

“Our efforts to protect our kababayans will not end with the imposition of deployment bans or the repatriation of our workers in countries where they are prone to maltreatment,” Cayetano said in the statement.

“We will also go after illegal recruiters, human traffickers and other modern-day slave traders who continue to victimize our people,” he added.

Cayetano then reminded the Kuwaiti government on the Philippine government’s request to act on the abuses suffered by Filipino workers in their country.

Bello, on the other hand, assured Filipino workers affected by the repatriation of the government’s assistance in finding another job either in the Philippines or in another country.

Since January 29, the DOLE chief said, hundreds of Filipino workers in Kuwait were already going to the embassy there to process their own return to the Philippines.

“To date, some 2,229 Filipinos have been issued travel documents, and 1,754 have already been granted immigration clearances,” Bello said in the joint statement.

The first batch of the repatriation, which consists of some 377 Filipino workers from Kuwait, has arrived in the country Monday morning.   /kga


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