Philippines imposes 'total ban' on citizens taking up jobs in Kuwait

Pauline Gross
February 15, 2018

Duterte has also offered assistance to Filipinos wanting to leave Kuwait and keep the ban on the deployment of workers due to concerns on abuse and exploitation.

"That (trip) is still being studied because we are waiting for signs from Kuwait government on how they will provide justice for our countrymen who were victims of abuses in Kuwait", he said. Hopefully, there will be bilateral agreements soon, Roque said.

Two planes full of workers arrived in Manila from Kuwait on Monday on flights provided for free by commercial airlines at the president's request.

The official said that hundreds of Filipinos have been coming to the Philippine embassy in Kuwait daily to register and initiate the process for their repatriation since the first day of the amnesty on Jan 29.

Kuwait's embassy in Manila declined to comment.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who co-chairs the Government Cluster on Overseas Filipino Workers with Bello, said the DFA and 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.

The Philippine foreign affairs department said on Monday that authorities were repatriating 10,000 overstaying Filipinos from Kuwait under an amnesty programme arranged with the Kuwaiti government. "PAL is more than ready to mount extra flights to Kuwait, as needed", Philippine Airlines said.

Filipino workers suffer from racial discrimination worldwide.

An estimated 250,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, 75 percent of which are domestic helpers.

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The Asian superpower, he added, is also in need of English-speaking household workers.

Just last week, the government confirmed that the body found in a freezer in a vacant apartment in Kuwait was that of a Filipina.

Demafelis had been tortured and later strangled to death, an autopsy revealed. In 2016, her contract was extended for another year.

He said he had ordered a review of labor documents in Kuwait, and was shocked to find out that the records of abuse of Filipinos there were so "repugnant".

The President earlier slammed Kuwait for the "inhuman" treatment of migrant workers following the discovery of a dead Filipino worker stuffed inside a freezer. "This is a national shame and yet we proclaim the OFWs [overseas Filipino workers] the modern-day heroes of the republic".

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

"I could not stomach this. And you seem to be oblivious about it", Duterte said, addressing the government of Kuwait during a press conference in Davao City last Friday night.

"But a total ban is not the solution". We do not intend to offend any government or anyone. "Kuwaitis violating the rights of our OFWs is a clear sign of their impunity", Hernando said.

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

Other reports by GizPress

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