May 16, 2018
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the deployment ban of household service workers (HSW) to Kuwait will only be lifted until the labor deal with the Gulf state is proven to be an effective deterrent to the abuses and maltreatment of overseas Filipino workers.
Bello made the statement as he is awaiting the directive from President Rodrigo Duterte before his office could officially lift the deployment ban for skilled workers to Kuwait.
“I told the President that we can lift the ban only with respect to our skilled workers and professionals. As to the household service workers, I said in my report that we will have to wait and see the effect of the agreement that we signed on the protection of our household service workers,” he said.
Among the key features of the signed agreement are the provision of food, housing, clothing and registration in the health insurance system for domestic workers, as well as the use of cellular phones and other means to communicate with their families back home.
As stated in the memorandum of understanding, the employer is also not allowed to keep the domestic workers’ personal identity documents such as passport as it is a property of the Philippine government and should not be in the possession of the employer.
Also, the MOU provides that the employer should open a bank account under the domestic worker's name to allow the reasonable opportunity to remit his or her monthly salary to relatives in the Philippines, as provided in the employment contract.
Bello said the implementation of the provisions of the agreement between Kuwait and Philippines on the protection of Filipino migrant workers will be monitored by a joint committee composed of Labor Attaché and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Deputy Executive Arnel Ignacio.
The said joint committee is also tasked to conduct periodic visitation to further monitor and assess the conditions of the OFWs in Kuwait.
There are 262,000 documented OFWs in Kuwait of which 170,000 are HSWs. DMS
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