Saturday , September 22 2018

Philippine-Kuwait ‘relations’ calm despite tension experienced lately

New crisis has hit recruitment market

KUWAIT CITY, July 22: The Philippine-Kuwaiti relations remain in a state of calm in the wake of tension experienced in the last period, reports Al-Anba daily.

The daily quoting an official source at the Philippines Foreign Ministry in response to a question about the date of arrival of the new Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait, noted the new ambassador has yet to be named. With regard to President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit, the source said it’s within the proposed timetable but “there are no assurances from the president’s office so far”.

On the other hand, Chairman of the Kuwaiti Federation of Domestic Labor Office Owners Khalid Al-Dakhanan revealed a new crisis has hit the recruitment market for Filipino workers. He pointed out that Philippine authorities have issued executive regulations for the mechanism of implementing its agreement with Kuwait, including an obligation for Kuwaiti labor recruitment offices to pay financial guarantee starting from $10,000 and up to $50,000.

He disclosed that executive regulation number 10/2018 concerning the mechanism of implementing the agreement signed between the governments of Kuwait and the Philippines includes a new condition obliging the offices to deposit financial insurance starting from $10,000 at local banks in the Philippines to serve as a collateral from which an amount will be deducted if the worker returns without completing the contract period based on nonpayment of salary or other complaints, indicating the sum will be raised to $50,000 in case of frequent complaints against the offices.

Condition
He added the aforementioned condition is in itself is an amendment to the agreement, which also doubts the possibility of Kuwait guaranteeing the implementation of this agreement, and therefore requires the domestic employment offices to ensure that Kuwaiti government implements the decision. He appealed to the competent authorities to intervene quickly to abolish the decision, because it will again lead to higher cost of domestic labor.

Al-Dakhanan indicated the Kuwaiti Federation of Domestic Labor Office Owners rejects the regulations in a comprehensive manner. He also called on the Kuwaiti offices, companies and institutions that recruit domestic workers not to put up with the regulations and ignore them. He stressed the Federation will take all measures available to reach out to concerned authorities in Kuwait and the Philippines to amend this unjust decision, especially as it applies only to the Kuwaiti offices and exempts other countries where Filipino domestic workers are hired from.

He stressed the Federation will work hard to open other outlets through the appropriate legal channels to bring domestic workers to lessen the current crisis, while diversifying the sources of domestic labor to avoid future crises. It will also ensure that labor prices are at the level that would not hold citizens to any additional burdens, especially as domestic workers are one of the most urgent necessities of the Kuwaiti family.

He stated the Minister of Commerce and Industry issued in April 2018 the Ministerial Decision No. 235/2018 fixing the prices for hiring domestic labor. The decision states that “the prices are for six months after which they will be reviewed”. He declared the Federation has respected the ministerial decision, because it is for a fixed period until the market prices are moderated and stabilized following the crisis that hit the domestic labor market.

This is to preserve the interests of citizens and not constitute any additional burdens on the Kuwaiti family. He called on the Minister of Commerce and Industry to reconsider the price fixing as the end of the months specified in the resolution approaches, seeing the idea of determining a fixed price for bringing in domestic labor was not fair or logical.

Diversification of sources of recruitment is the most important and decisive factor with the decline in prices, as it is primarily subjected to the market situation in terms of supply and demand, he said. He stressed that setting the prices of domestic labor recruitment is one of the main reasons for lack of suitable applications for work due to the presence of competitors from other countries, and the citizen chooses a suitable employment with the opening of new markets in the countries of origin.

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