Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

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

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

Duterte, who had earlier suspended deployment of mostly household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait, moved further for a total ban on hearing more reports of abuse.

"As to the need for justice, we will hold Kuwait responsible under the concept of state responsibility".

He emphasized that Kuwait was obligated under worldwide law to compensate victims of what the Philippines considered "horrendous crimes".

Roque said those who do not want to leave Kuwait, can opt to stay.

Twenty-five distressed overseas Filipino workers from Kuwait arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport yesterday morning.

Calls to the Kuwaiti Embassy in Manila went unanswered on Monday.

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.

Estimates suggest that around 10,000 OFWs are overstaying in Kuwait. Most are employed as seafarers and maids in countries that offer scant labor protection.

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

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.

Duterte lamented the death of a Filipino woman working as a help in Kuwait whose body was recently found inside a freezer.

More news: Figure skater Mirai Nagasu lands historic triple axel at the Olympics

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

Kuwait might incur "international responsibility" if it fails to provide legal remedy for the Filipino victims, he said.

"In pursuit of national interest, and with the advent of the series of reports involving abuse and death of OFWs in Kuwait, a total ban on deployment of all OFWs to Kuwait pursuant to the directive of the President of the Philippines is hereby enforced", read the Order.

"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".

Pawa's story had made headlines in the Philippines, especially after tests revealed the DNA retrieved from the murder weapon did not match hers.

Bello in a statement said there were lots of other alternative job markets for OFWs affected by the deployment ban to that country, including Czechoslovakia, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.

He called on Kuwait to respect the dignity of Filipino workers, noting that they are "no slave to anyone, anywhere and everywhere".

"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.

Duterte also implored the Kuwaiti government and to the Arab nations to protect the Filipinos working in their countries.

"But a total ban is not the solution". We do not intend to offend any government or anyone. Hopefully, there will be bilateral agreements soon, Roque said.

Like this: