Total ban eyed on OFW Deployment to Kuwait

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Manila, Philippines – A lawmaker has called for a total ban on the deployment of Filipino migrant workers to Kuwait due to the “heinous crimes committed” against them.

“It pains me to see OFWs being abused – more so slaughtered by people whom they selflessly served. This barbaric act against our OFWs should be condemned by humanity and the entire international community,” said Pangasinan 3rd District Representative Rachel Arenas.

Arenas, chair of the House of Representatives’ committee on foreign affairs, has spoken out against the maltreatment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait, reminding the Kuwaiti government that the decision of the Philippines to ban first-time household Filipino workers was due to their deplorable history of abuse against OFWs.

“This only happens in Kuwait, and the Kuwaiti government seems to have no teeth in implementing their laws. Our OFWs should be sent to countries that will treat them with dignity, protect their rights, and promote their welfare,” she said.

She believes that the decision of the Kuwaiti government to suspend the issuance of new entry visas for Filipinos is a way to “pressure” the Philippine government to lift its deployment ban on first-time household Filipino workers to Kuwait.

Arenas also urged the executive department under President Marcos “not to succumb to the pressure from Kuwaitis and instead call for a complete deployment ban of all workers to Kuwait.”

“This total deployment ban must be enforced until the Kuwaiti government sits down with our officials and agree to our demands. Until then, we should not entertain their demands and acts of intimidation,” the lawmaker said.

Earlier the Department of Migrant Workers reported that 815 Filipino workers (514 of which were domestic workers) have been affected by Kuwait government’s suspension of issuance of new entry visa.

It remains unclear why Kuwait has suspended their issuance of visa. But Foreign Affairs Usec. Eduardo De Vega earlier claimed it is likely because of the 2018 agreement between the two countries allowing the Philippine embassy to serve as shelter for Filipino workers escaping from their employers.

DMW said the workers affected by the visa issuance suspension are entitled to a P30,000 financial assistance from the Philippine government, as well as employment and livelihood assistance.

From May 16 to 17, representatives of the DMW, Department of Foreign Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration had bilateral labor talks with Kuwaiti government representatives at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait.