MANILA, March 7, (Agencies): Kuwait is said to have given nod to the conditions contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of the Philippine government to lift the total ban on deployment of first-time Filipino workers to Kuwait, says LBG, GMA News.
The ‘Unang Balita’ quoting the Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said “the labor officials in Kuwait have agreed to the conditions in the MoU to ensure safety and the wellbeing of Filipinos in Kuwait, especially household service workers.”
The MoU strictly forbids confiscation of the cellphones from the OFWs, passports and prevents what Bello called, ‘trading’ of workers to other employers.
However, Bello clarified that even after the finalization of the MoU and bringing to justice the killers of Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait, he would still recommend the lifting of the deployment ban only for skilled workers. He went on to say, the MoU with Kuwait will form the basis of ensuring safety of Filipinos working other host countries.
A total deployment ban to Kuwait was ordered by the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte after the discovery of the remains of Demafelis inside a freezer. Earlier, a series of reported deaths of OFWs in the Gulf state, especially household workers, prompted Duterte to order a partial ban on deployment and the case of Demafelis forced the President to order a total ban.
Meanwhile, the remains of OFW Jeanette Opido is expected to arrive Manila from Kuwait on March 8, the manpower recruitment agency that originally deployed her to Kuwait said in a statement, according to a press release issued by the iRekrut Manpower, Incorporated. Opido, who is also known by her maiden name Jeanette Plegaria on social media, died Feb 23, 2018.
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health said her cause of death was “acute failure of blood circulation and stop of heart muscles and respiration, heavy weakness in heart muscles, lung infection, and failure of respiration functions.” Her recruitment agency, iRekrut Manpower, refuted allegations and speculations in the social media that the agency had abandoned her.
iRekrut Manpower managing director Roland Collado said the agency personnel were attending to Opido through their foreign recruitment agency counterpart in Kuwait, Teflah Mohsen Duhaiman Al Dhafeeri Manpower Office. “All throughout Opido’s confinement (1st, 2nd and 3rd) our FRA was with her as evidenced by the pictures attached in our several reports (to the POEA)…The Filipino secretaries of our FRA were regularly present in the hospital during the confinement as evidenced by the pictures we have submitted in our reports,” iRekrut said.
Collado said a request will be made to the Kuwait government to ‘arrest’ a person, identified only as Gamboa, who instigated Opido’s illegal discharge from the hospital. “As soon as we are able to repatriate the remains of Opido, we will request through our FRA to coordinate with the local Kuwait authorities to investigate the alleged Filipino companions of Opido when she escaped from the hospital,” the iRekrut official said.
Collado added “Opido herself confirmed that she was in the custody of a certain Gamboa, who is not an employee of our FRA. Initial reports indicated that an NGO facilitated the escape of Opido from the hospital and thereafter allowed her to stay in their accommodation.” “The NGO should explain why Opido was kept a medically ill worker in their custody instead of bringing her immediately to the hospital or at least, at the Philippine Embassy.
From the start, we have been asking Opido to report to the Embassy but she refused to follow,” Collado said. He also said Opido only had two employers until she ran away from her last employer sometime in April 2016. “Instead of seeking shelter at our Embassy or asking assistance from our FRA, she worked illegally as part time cleaner. Even after her operation (1st confinement) she refused to be repatriated and instead insisted on working illegally,” iRekrut added.
“Jeanette has been uncooperative with us and our FRA when we asked her that we will process her repatriation. It was only in December 2017 that she cooperated with us for the process of her repatriation. She was confined for 4 days last January and was eventually discharged and was even given a fit to travel certificate,” the agency said. The recruitment agency said Opido’s family has been informed about the repatriation of the remains on March 8.