The total deployment ban of Filipino workers in Kuwait stays unless its government honors a pact signed to guarantee their protection, MalacaAang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) approved a resolution imposing a total deployment ban of all newly-hired workers bound for Kuwait.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who also heads the POEA governing board, recommended the total deployment ban after Filipino worker Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende was killed by her employer. She also showed signs of sexual abuse.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said the total deployment ban will be indefinite until such time that the Kuwaiti government implements its provisions.
Until such time as the terms of the MOA (memorandum of agreement) are incorporated in each labor contract between the employer and the employee, the ban remains, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Citing Bello, Panelo said the Kuwaiti government has yet to honor the pact on the protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf State.
Yun nga ang kundisyon e. Pag di niyo ginagawa ang pinag-usapan natin diyan, tuluy-tuloy yung ban natin (Those are the conditions. If you don't implement what we have agreed upon, the ban stays), Panelo said.
Asked if there was a need to amend the existing pact, Panelo said what is needed is stricter implementation.
Yung pagsunod hindi naman yan sa pag-amend ng MOA kundi sa pag-implement ng gobyerno nila (It does not require an amendment to the pact but implementation on their part), Panelo said.
We're asking them to implement it otherwise the ban remains, he added.
In May 2018, the Philippine and Kuwait governments signed an agreement that aims to put an end to inhumane treatment committed against Filipino workers by their Kuwaiti employers.
The agreement contains a contract of employment template where provisions particularly stated by the President are enumerated.
These provisions include requiring workers' passports to be deposited to the Philippine Embassy and not confiscated by employers; workers are given one day off every week; workers are given seven hours of sleep a day; workers provided with decent meals and sleeping quarters; and workers provided with cellphones.
Prior to the signing of the deal, Duterte imposed a total deployment ban on new workers to Kuwait after the murder of domestic worker Joanna Demafelis, along with a series of reported abuse and maltreatment of Filipino domestic workers.
Despite the killing of another Filipino worker in Kuwait, Panelo said the Philippine government is not considering the possible cutting of ties with Kuwait.
Duterte also said he has no intention to order the repatriation of Filipino workers from Kuwait.
He also expressed appreciation for Kuwait's efforts to serve justice for Villavende who was killed by her employer's wife.
Villavende's employers have been arrested and are currently detained by Kuwaiti authorities.
Source: Philippines News Agency