MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte has said he will not lift the ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) if the Kuwaiti government disagrees with mandatory provisions he included in the memorandum of understanding set to be signed by the Philippines and the Gulf state.
I demanded several things. I said if these will not be approved, Silvestro Bello, Labor Secretary, I'm sorry, no lifting of the ban, Duterte said in his speech during the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC) National Convention held at the Cuneta Astrodome on Wednesday night.
During the 39th commencement exercises of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in Cavite on Wednesday, Duterte also outlined some mandatory provisions that would protect OFWs in Kuwait.
The President demanded that the OFWs, many of them domestic helpers, be guaranteed seven hours of sleep and be allowed to cook their own food.
We will not allow leftovers to be eaten by our countrymen. They should be allowed to cook their own food, he said.
Duterte also included in the MOU the non-confiscation of passports, and employers should allow Filipino workers to take rest days and holidays.
They must have a day off where they can go to church. If she's a Muslim, then you allow her to go to the mosque. A Christian, allow her or him to go to church, the President said.
Before thousands of his supporters who campaigned for him during the 2016 elections, Duterte vowed to protect the OFWs, saying "the only fault of these OFWs is they are poor".
Bello reportedly said the signing of the MOU will most likely happen in Kuwait.
Last month, the Chief Executive ordered the ban on the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, triggered by the killing of Joana Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer, and other abuses and maltreatment experienced by other OFWs in the Arab state.
There are at least 250,000 Filipinos working in Kuwait, according to government data.
Source: Philippine News Agency