DOLE to issue 'total ban' on OFW deployment to Kuwait today

Violet Powell
February 15, 2018

The overseas Filipino workers who arrived on Monday were among those who availed the amnesty program.

Duterte said the government is willing to give land to those interested in farming it, adding that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also runs a livelihood program for returning OFWs.

"Escalation does not serve the ties between Kuwait and the Philippines", Sheikh Sabah said, adding that 170,000 Filipinos "live a decent life in Kuwait. but separate accidents unfortunately happen, and we are providing our Filipino counterparts with the results of the investigations".

The announcement came days after the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, responded angrily to reports that the body of a Filipino domestic worker had been found in a freezer in an apartment in Kuwait.

'We are particularly keen on finding alternative employment in countries such as Oman and Bahrain, both of which are signatories to the relevant International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention that protects migrant workers, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr said in a news briefing yesterday. "Kuwait, under global law, has a legal obligation to provide legal redress for the victims, Filipino victims of these horrendous crimes in Kuwait", Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

Kuwait's embassy in Manila declined to comment.

Cayetano, who co-chairs the Government Cluster on OFWs with DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, said the DFA and the DOLE are also coordinating with other government agencies in taking steps to strictly implement the ban on the deployment of new workers to the Gulf state.

Roque said under the global law, every country had an obligation to protect and give justice to the migrant workers.

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Authorities say 252,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many as maids. Unexplained deaths were also reported in the Gulf state involving Filipino household service workers.

Duterte on Friday brandished photos purporting to show a Filipina maid found in a freezer, saying she had been "roasted like a pig".

Philippine ambassador to Kuwait Rene Villa told the publication that the ministries had assured him if the suspects were in Lebanon they could be extradited within "probably two weeks" but it would be "very hard" for police to make arrests if they had fled to Syria. "It is totally, totally unacceptable to me", Duterte said. The woman's body bore torture marks and indications that she was strangled to death.

He said the country was also looking at alternative markets like Russian Federation and China. We do not intend to offend any government or anyone.

"I could not stomach this".

The Philippines and China may sign a bilateral agreement on the deployment of OFWs "within the month or next month", Bello said.

"They are the most vulnerable, the domestic workers", he said.

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