PH commits to work with Bahrain in advocating reforms in kafala system
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to cooperate with the Kingdom of Bahrain in upholding migrant workers’ rights, particularly, in advocating reforms in the kafala or sponsorship system prevalent in the Middle East.
Duterte said this in his letter to Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa handed by Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje during his official visit to the kingdom on Dec. 31.
“In his letter, President Duterte expressed the Philippine Government’s commitment to further broaden and expand cooperation with Bahrain and the readiness to ramp up the partnership on migrant workers’ rights protection from bilateral to multilateral venues,” a Palace statement said.
In particular, Duterte commended Bahrain for their “efforts to dismantle the egregious kafala system” as he vowed to work closely with the kingdom to “advocate reforms.”
Under the kafala or sponsorship system, workers cannot transfer to other jobs without the consent of their employers. Many human rights groups have criticized this, likening it to “modern-day slavery.”
The Crown Prince, in return, assured that Filipinos in the kingdom will be taken care of and will be given access to medical care.
“His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa stated that Bahrain ‘will not abuse that trust,’ citing that respect for humanity and human dignity was a core Bahrain value,” Palace said.
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