The Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) announced that a bilateral agreement for the protection of OFWs in Kuwait has already been laid out and is in its final stages, and is now only waiting for Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s signature and approval.
According to Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the President may have to personally fly to Kuwait within this month because Kuwaiti officials won’t be available during the holy month of Ramadan.
In an interview last April 10, Bello said that the MoU is already in the final stages, and is just awaiting for the President’s approval and signature.
DOLE: MoU with Kuwait for the Protection of OFWs Now Finalized
In late February, Pres. Duterte declared a total deployment ban in Kuwait due to the reported cases of abuse and maltreatment of some domestic workers in the Gulf State.
The labour ban was implemented following the discovery of the dead body of a Filipina domestic worker inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait, more than a year after the OFW had been reported to be missing.
In the autopsy report of Demafelis’ death, the 29-year-old Iloilo native had sustained several injuries such as broken ribs, bruises and blows to the pelvis and kidney area which had led to internal bleeding and to her untimely death that had sparked clamour and rage in the Philippines.
Earlier this month, a criminal court in Kuwait had passed a death sentence in absentia to the murder suspects – Demafelis’ former employers, Nader Essam Assaf and Mona Hassoun. However, Filipino officials maintained that while the news was a positive development in Demafelis’ case, the ban would still be in place until an agreement which upholds the protection of OFWs in Kuwait is signed.
The provisions of the agreement, as demanded by Pres. Duterte, include that passports of OFWs should not be in the possession of their employers, and that OFWs be allowed at least seven (7) hours of sleep, and one day-off in a week, as well as to cook and prepare their own food.
In addition, the President had also ordered the Department of Labour to make it a point that no Filipino worker will be abused and mistreated by their employers.