Suspension of OFW deployment to countries maintaining Kafala system eyed
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government may consider suspending the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Middle East countries that would refuse to heed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to abolish the Kafala system, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Wednesday.
Bello said Duterte may order him to suspend the deployment of OFWs if the Kafala system, which requires migrant workers to have a sponsor in the country of employment to get a visa and worker’s permit, would not be abolished.
“Hindi malayo na kapag hindi pinagbigyan ang panawagan ng ating Pangulong Duterte, baka bibigyan ako ng kautusan na magsuspend muna ng deployment sa mga bansang ayaw tanggalin ‘yung Kafala system,” Bello said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
(It’s possible that if they won’t heed the call of President Duterte, I may be ordered to suspend the deployment of OFWs to countries that don’t want to abolish the Kafala system.)
Duterte earlier pushed for the complete abolition of the Kafala system, calling it “unjust” and “exploitative.”
The President said the system places thousands of migrant workers, particularly household service workers at the “most vulnerable position.”
He added that it has also led to non-payment of wages, restriction of movement, denial of healthcare, sexual exploitation, and outright murder.
Bello noted that Duterte had made this call for the protection of OFWs. “Kaya kung hindi nila pagbigyan ‘yan, maliwanag na ‘yung aming direksyon, and that is to suspend or at least slow down ‘yung deployment ng ating mga OFW dyan,” Bello added.
(That’s why if they won’t grant that request, our direction is clear, and that is to suspend or at least slow down the deployment of our OFWs to those countries.)
Subscribe to our global nation newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.