On Friday (February 14), the Department of Labor and Employment has officially announced the lifting of the deployment ban to Kuwait after both parties have reached an agreement regarding the protection and safety of Filpino household service workers (HSWs) in Kuwait.
Because of this development, there is now full deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to Kuwait.
PH Resumes Deployment of HSWs to Kuwait
The directive was based on POEA governing board resolution no. 7 approved on February 13, which states that the government will now resume processing and deployment of all types of workers bound to the Gulf estate, as shared in a report by the Manila Bulletin.
According to Labor Secretary Bello, who chairs the POEA governing board, the approval was made because of the filing of charges against the suspected killers of OFW Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende.
In a statement, Bello explained: “After due consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and with the filing of appropriate charges against the perpetrators [in the killing] of OFW Jeanelyn Villavende, the Governing Board of the POEA unanimously approved the lifting of the remaining ban in Kuwait concerning the deployment of household workers.”
It has only been a month since the government imposed the total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait following the death of Villavende there.
Following the separate investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation, it was discovered that Villavende was sexually abused and brutally murdered.
Last week, Secretary Bello announced the partial lifting of the deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait with newly hired and returning domestic workers still being covered by the ban.
The labor chief cited the recent signing of the harmonized standardized employment contract for HSW as the reason for the partial lifting.
Furthermore, he explained that the standardized contract of employment will ensure the welfare and protection of OFWs in the Gulf state.
The salient provisions of the standard employment contract include the following:
- prohibition for employers to keep any of the worker’s identity documents such as passport, and
- the entitlement of a worker to own a phone and use it outside the working hours provided that she keeps the secrets and privacy of the household, and use such phone in a manner consistent with public morals to mention a few.
According to the labor department, more than 50 percent of close to 250,000 documented workers in Kuwait are (HSWs).
Meanwhile, a non-government organization (NGO) advocating overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Saturday, February 15, criticized the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the full lifting of the deployment ban to Kuwait.
In a brief statement, Blas F. Ople Policy Center head Susan Ople slammed the “abrupt” lifting of the ban that will now allow the deployment of new hires and returning household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait.
The former DOLE secretary pointed out that the announcement on the lifting of the ban was done before a jubilant crowd of recruitment agency owners, to which she described the setting as inappropriate, if not downright insensitive.
Ople also revealed that the Ople Center’s dialogue with OFW groups indicated a different consensus from the government’s decision.
However, with the full lifting of the ban already made official, the government will resume the processing and deployment of all remaining categories of domestic workers or household service workers to Kuwait.