Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Kuwait condemns Manila ban on Filipino workers

Kuwait condemns Manila ban on Filipino workers

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement days after Duterte said that he is willing to take drastic measures if it means protecting the lives of OFWs in Kuwait.

The government looked for Filipino domestic helper Joanna Demafelis in Kuwait when she was reported missing, but gave up after the agency that recruited her to the Middle East closed down. "Kuwait, under worldwide 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. The Philippines is mulling sending affected workers to other countries like China and Russia, Bello had said.

But Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello yesterday announced a "total ban" on new employment in the country, including Filipinos who had already obtained employment permits but had not yet left for the wealthy oil-producing country.

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.

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"We are looking at countries like Oman and Bahrain, where there is no complaint of abuse of our countrymen", he said.

Following developments on the issue of reported abuses on Filipinos in Kuwait, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said it called for a "concrete action" from the Kuwaiti government to address maltreatment suffered by Filipinos in their state.

According to OWWA representatives, the OFWs will temporarily stay at their OWWA headquarters in Pasay City for processing. "But if they are maltreated, President Duterte will not allow foreigners to abuse them like animals", Roque said.

Duterte will lead the ceremonial distribution of PHP5,000 immediate financial assistance for each OFW amnesty availee.

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Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and low-priced airline Cebu Pacific have heeded President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's call to transport Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait who wish to be repatriated back to the Philippines, following the recent death of an OFW whose body was tracked down inside a freezer.

Duterte donated P5,000 to each Filipino worker while the OWWA and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also handed over P5,000 cash.

The repatriated OFWs arrived on board Philippine Airlines Flight PR 669 at around 6:30 a.m.

Meantime, Cebu Pacific Spokesperson Charo Logarta Lagamon said it they will be deploying an Airbus A330 aircraft - the largest in its fleet with a maximum of 436 passengers, for a chartered flight since CEB has no regular commercial air service between Manila and Kuwait. Likewise, Cebu Pacific (CEB) is mounting a special charter flight from Kuwait to Manila for free.

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