Filipinos in Kuwait must have bank accounts – 91 more Filipinos arrive home

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MANILA, March 20, (Agencies): The initial agreement which was signed between Filipino officials and their Kuwaiti counterparts in Manila at a hotel came following a labor dispute between both nations after reports of abuse of Filipino domestic workers by their sponsors in Kuwait, according to KBK, GMA NEWS.

The Kuwait and the Philippines labor officials agreed during the meeting last week that the Filipino domestic helpers in Kuwait should have bank accounts, for the authorities to easily monitor if the workers are paid their right wages on time, said the Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

At a press briefing Tuesday, March 20, Cayetano said this was among the provisions in the preliminary agreement signed by Philippine and Kuwaiti officials on March 16 following a series of meetings in Manila, according to which the sponsor must provide food, housing, clothing and health insurance for OFWs.

However, the Philippines official went on to say signing an agreement is one thing and implementing it is another. He is of the view that improving the Philippines economy will help Filipinos work at home instead of going overseas to find better-paying jobs.

The Philippines has banned the deployment of first-time OFWs to Kuwait following reports of abuses, some of them resulting in death, as was the case of Joanna Demafelis whose body was found in a freezer in an unoccupied apartment unit more than a year after she was reported missing.

In the meantime, 91 more Filipino workers have arrived ‘home’ from Kuwait taking advantage of the amnesty offered to overstaying and undocumented foreign workers, according to Balitanghali news program. Like other previous batches, some workers brought with them tales of abuse and maltreatment at the hands of their employers.

One of them claimed, she was physically and sexually abused by her employer. She went on to say she escaped from her employer after he attempted to take her to Saudi Arabia. Another OFW, from Maguindanao, said she was an undocumented worker in Kuwait for 10 years after she fled her first employer.

According to lawyer Lazer Blitz Sumagaysay of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), more OFWs are set to come home from Kuwait in the coming days due to the amnesty. The Philippines has banned the deployment of first-time OFWs to Kuwait following reports of abuses on Filipino domestic helpers.

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