Since the announcement of the total labour ban on Kuwait last Feb. 12, there has been growing unease in the Philippines which had been sparked by the case of a dead Filipina whose body was found inside a freezer in Kuwait.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Khalid Al Sabah pointed out that this development will not prove to be beneficial to the ties between the Philippines and Kuwait. The Foreign Minister also explained that Kuwait has always warmly welcomed Filipino workers.
Additional Guidelines on the Labour Ban Released to Clear Up Confusion Among OFWs
Despite the immediate order of the president, as echoed by the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) on the blanket ban on Kuwait, there were still grey areas as to the scope of the order to be implemented.
In response to this, DOLE has released new guidelines to bring clarification regarding the scope and restrictions of the labour ban on the Gulf State. According to Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the guidelines detail the following exemptions to the labour ban: (a) workers who are on vacation in the Philippines, but will return to their same employer to fulfil their contracts at the end of their leave, (b) workers who are set to return to Kuwait under a new contract with the same boss, and (c) Filipino shipping crew who are to return for service on their respective ships, or those who are traveling through or entering in Kuwait to return to their principals.
Furthermore, the issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC) by the Philippine Overseas Employment Angecy and/or the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POEA-POLO) to workers under the balik-manggagawa (workers on leave) program who are exempted from the ban entails prior clearance sanctioned by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
The guidelines were issued to clear up the confusion by which OFWs with unfinished contracts expressed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport when they were initially denied to leave the country to return to their workplace in the Gulf State.