Philippine Embassy denies maids rumor

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 3: The Philippine Embassy issued an advisory on Friday vehemently dispelling the rumor that has been circulating on the social media and even on text messages that those who want to get a Filipina domestic worker may go to the Philippine Embassy and the Embassy will give them a domestic worker in exchange of a KD 600 payment.

Moreover, the rumor alleged that the embassy will fix the visa or work permit of the domestic worker. “This is totally not true. These are all lies. The Embassy has never engaged in this kind of activity or arrangement. Those who are queuing outside the embassy are applying for amnesty and they all want to go home to the Philippines. The Philippine Embassy is helping them in the processing of their travel document, fingerprint and their exit clearance,” disclosed Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Pedro Villa during a meeting with the Filipino community leaders on Friday at the embassy.

The rumor has been circulating at the onset of the amnesty on Jan 29 where thousands of undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers trooped to the embassy.

The Ministry of Interior issued on Jan 23, 2018 a ministerial Decision No. 64/2018 stipulating regulations for expatriates, whose residency applications were rejected or those with expired residency permits, to rectify their status or leave the country.

The amnesty period is from Jan 29, 2018 to Feb 22, 2018. “We have already informed the Ministry of Interior and Office of the Domestic Workers Affairs (ODWA) about this rumor and whoever is behind it should stop it,” stressed Villa.

He also informed the Filipino community that the deployment suspension of all newly hired workers to Kuwait issued by the Department of Labour and Employment on Jan 19, 2018 is still in place pending results of the investigation on the death of seven OFWs.

“There’s still no news of the lifting of the deployment suspension. A top level delegation from the Philippines will be meeting with Kuwaiti officials this mid February for the joint bilateral talks to discuss issues of mutual concern and included in the agenda is the memorandum of understanding on the deployment of Filipino household service workers to Kuwait,” stated Villa.

He also reminded all undocumented Filipinos in Kuwait availing the amnesty that the travel document is free and they don’t have to pay for anything. “If you hear anyone spreading this rumor on the domestic workers being sold at KD 600 at the embassy or anyone selling the travel document from unscrupulous individuals or groups, please inform us immediately so we can refer them to authorities for appropriate action,” pointed out Villa.

Present also during the meeting were Labour Attache Alejandro Padaen, Welfare Officer Nestor Burayag, some embassy officials and a three-man Rapid Response Team who just arrived from the Philippines to assist in the repatriation of OFWs during the amnesty. Earlier, Consul Noodin Pendosina Lomondot announced that the Philippine government through the Department of Foreign Affairs will be allocating repatriation funds and will be giving free tickets to those undocumented OFWs who will go home under the Kuwait amnesty program. “As of now, there are around 2,000 who have registered for the amnesty. We hope that more will avail the amnesty,” stated Lomondot.

There are around 10,000 undocumented Filipino workers in Kuwait based on the records of the Ministry of Interior and the embassy is targeting to repatriate at least 7,000 undocumented OFWs. Most of the undocumented Filipinos worked as household service workers who ran away from their employers due to various forms of abuses such as physical, sexual or verbal abuse, non-payment of salary and overwork. Currently, there are around 250,000 documented OFWs and 165,000 of them are working as household service workers.

 

By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff

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