The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has enforced a ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait over recent deaths of seven migrant workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he has directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to stop processing overseas employment certificates of Kuwait-bound workers.
The order, issued late afternoon of January 19, 2018, takes effect immediately.
The ban came after President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that he plans to engage Kuwaiti officials in talks following a string of deaths of Filipino women working in the Gulf state. He did not give any details.
We talk to them, state the truth and just tell them that it’s not acceptable anymore,” Duterte said.
Kuwait is home to about 600,000 domestic helpers, mostly Asian. In January last year, Filipino migrant worker Jakatia Pawa was executed in Kuwait for allegedly killing her employer’s 22-year-old daughter.
Kuwait expressed surprise at the move and said it was in touch with Manila to try to resolve the issue.
Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah expressed “surprise and sorrow” over Duterte’s remarks, saying that legal proceedings had been taken in the cases of the four domestic workers mentioned by the president.
“We have begun immediate contacts with Filipino authorities to examine the extent of this statement and to try to refute the erroneous information that came in it,” state news agency KUNA quoted Jarallah as saying.
Jarallah said there were more than 170,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait, all protected by laws that shield them from abuse.
More than 2.3 million Filipinos are documented as working abroad. Collectively they remit more than $2 billion of their income back to the Philippines every month, money that fuels robust consumer spending in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.