The Philippine government announced two conditions for lifting the deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Friday (January 17).
This comes following the death of an overseas Filipino worker, Jeanelyn Villavende, in the Gulf State almost two years after the murder of another household service worker, Joanna Demafelis, whose dead body was found inside a freezer of an abandoned apartment in Kuwait.
PH Sets 2 Requirements Before Lifting Deployment Ban on Kuwait
During a press briefing, Bello said the first condition is justice should be given to Jeanelyn Villavende, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) killed in Kuwait recently. The other condition is having a standard employment contract for household service workers, as shared in a report by the Manila Bulletin.
Bello, referring to the deployment ban to Kuwait shared: “It will stay there until we don’t get justice for Ms. Villavende and we don’t get a consensus on the standard employment contract. If we don’t get that, there will be no deployment. It should be both.”
According to the labor secretary, the total deployment ban was imposed because of the brutal killing of Villavende, the attempt to cover it up, and the failure of the Kuwaiti government to come to an agreement regarding the finalization of the standard employment contract that should be agreed upon between Kuwait and the Philippines in accordance with the memorandum that was signed between the two countries in 2018.
On the development of Villavende’s case, Bello shared that he would receive the official autopsy report conducted by Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior on Villavende’s remains last Friday (January 17).
Regarding the deployment ban, Bello explained why skilled workers and professionals were included in the effect of the ban: “We don’t want to take any chance. We don’t want a repeat of the Villavende incident. After (Joanna) Demafelis and (Constancia) Dayag, we thought it will not happen anymore but here again… this is worse.“
Also commenting on the sentiments of those who will be barred because of the total deployment ban, Bello appealed to his kababayans to understand the government’s position, and that “the deployment ban was reached in order to prevent a repeat of what happened to Villavende.”
For their part, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) approved the resolution on the total deployment ban to Kuwait, Wednesday (January 15).
Meanwhile, the Senate will conduct an inquiry on the effectiveness of the Philippines’ bilateral agreement with Kuwait on the protection of OFWs following the killing of Villavende.
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