Implementation of PH-Kuwait labor deal questioned after rape of OFW
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday questioned if the labor deal between the Philippines and Kuwait which seeks to protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state was being fully implemented after a Filipina was reportedly raped.
Chargé d’Affaires Mohd Noordin Lomondot of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait said a Filipina worker was allegedly kidnapped and assaulted by a 22-year-old man who helped her at the finger scanning registration at the airport when she arrived in Kuwait last June 4.
This, despite the labor bilateral deal between the Philippines and Kuwait in place.
“Manila and Kuwait entered into a bilateral labor agreement that sought to improve the protections of Filipino workers in the Gulf state last May 2018. Article 2 Section 12 of the ratified agreement states that the Kuwaiti government should establish a 24-hour assistance mechanism for our domestic workers,” Villanueva, who chairs the Senate labor committee, said in a statement.
“Are all the safety mechanisms for the protection OFWs in place and functioning properly?” the senator asked.
Villanueva also questioned if the joint committee, which was supposed to meet to address issues in the implementation of the ratified agreement, had met.
“Has there been any initiative from both countries to convene as a joint committee and tackle issues on the implementation of the agreement?” Villanueva said.
The senator, who called the incident “disheartening,” then called for concerned government agencies to ensure that the bilateral deal with Kuwait is being followed and implemented.
“It is disheartening to learn that another grave harm has befallen on a Filipino household service worker, who like any other OFW, sought work overseas to give their loved ones a better fighting chance on a bright future,” Villanueva said.
“We urge all agencies to act proactively and swiftly to ensure that our bilateral agreement with Kuwait is followed and implemented strictly,” the senator said.
Villanueva added that the safety of OFWs must always be “paramount.”
“The safety and integrity of all Filipino workers in Kuwait and around the world should always be paramount. Anything short of this is simply unacceptable,” Villanueva said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, citing Lomondot, earlier said that Kuwaiti authorities have issued an arrest warrant against the suspect.
“We also ask Kuwait authorities to pursue and prosecute the suspect so that justice may prevail. Rape is a crime of great magnitude which deserves no less than the most severe punishment,” Villanueva said. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)
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