PH may reimpose OFW ban in Kuwait over rape of maid
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Thursday said he was open to the reimposition of a ban on labor deployment to Kuwait in the wake of an attack on a Filipino maid in the oil-rich Gulf state.
Bello spoke after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that the maid was raped by a Kuwait police officer who assisted her at the airport as she arrived in the emirate on June 4.
After helping her go through airport procedures, the policeman allegedly kidnapped and raped her.
The policeman has been identified as Fayed Naser Hamad Alajmy, 22, and Kuwaiti authorities have issued a warrant for his arrest.
Malacañang on Thursday expressed outrage over the attack on the maid and gave assurance of government assistance for her.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Bello was already “responding to that incident.”
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) assisting distressed migrants, called on the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) to slow down deployment to Kuwait after the attack on the maid.
Susan Ople, head of the NGO, said that although the attacker was not the maid’s employer, the Dole could make a strong case that lax security at the Kuwait airport led to the attack on the Filipino woman.
“[U]nless the Kuwait government, particularly its airport and law enforcement authorities, demonstrate political will in going after the perpetrator and overhauling its airport security protocols, . . . how can we be assured that [this will] never happen again?” Ople said in a statement.
Bello responded: “We can impose the deployment ban again if there is enough basis. If the allegations were true, and no actions were taken, then it might be enough ground to reimpose the ban.”
But in the meantime, he said, it would be best if the Philippine government waited for the results of the investigation of the Kuwaiti government. He noted that the DFA was closely monitoring the investigation.
The DFA said it was working closely with Kuwaiti authorities for the speedy arrest of Alajmy.
“The Philippine government will exert all efforts to ensure that justice is served,” the foreign office said in a statement.
Last year, the Philippines imposed a complete ban on labor deployment to Kuwait because of increasing abuses against Filipino maids in the emirate.
The ban lasted four months, ending only after the two governments signed an agreement ensuring better working conditions for Filipinos in Kuwait. —REPORTS FROM TINA G. SANTOS, JULIE M. AURELIO AND JEROME ANING
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