KUWAIT CITY, Jan 29: The Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III along with the Philippine Technical Working Group will be arriving in Kuwait on Feb 1 for the Joint Committee Meeting with the Kuwait Technical Working Group to discuss the current status of Filipino workers in Kuwait amid the imposition by the Philippine government of a total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait, disclosed Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait Nasser Mustafa on Wednesday.
The total deployment ban was imposed on Jan 15, 2020 following the death of Filipino household service worker Jeanelyn Villavende who was allegedly sexually abused and tortured by her Kuwaiti employers. A murder case has been filed against the suspects who are now detained in the Kuwait Central Jail awaiting trial Mustafa told the Arab Times that Bello will be accompanied by DOLE Undersecretary Claro Arellano, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Bernard Olalia, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac and POEA Director Atty John Rio Bautista.
They are set to meet with their Kuwaiti counterpart on Feb 2 and 3 to tackle issues on the welfare and protection of Filipino workers especially the household service workers. The two groups will be discussing also the harmonized Standard Employment Contract between the Philippines and Kuwait.
In addition, prior to the Joint Committee Meeting, the Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO) led by its Chairman Khaled Al-Dakhnan and members along with some visiting owners of Philippine Recruitment Agencies will meet with Bello and his delegation for a dialogue on Feb 1 to tackle issues on the Filipino household service workers and how to boost cooperation among the stakeholders on the protection of Filipino workers in the country. This was disclosed to the Arab Times by Filipino Association of Secretaries of Employment Agencies in Kuwait (FIL-ASEAK) President Mariam Macapudi.
In another development, the POEA issued a new advisory on Wednesday on the “Clarification/Further Exemption on the Kuwait Total Deployment Ban” whereby vacationing Filipino semi-skilled workers and household service workers who have been stranded in the Philippines due to the total deployment ban imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Jan 15, 2020 can now fly back to Kuwait on the condition that they were issued their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) on or before Jan 15, 2020.
The POEA Advisory No. 04-A Series of 2020 signed by POEA Administrator Olalia and disseminated on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020, informed all returning or Balik-Manggagawa Filipino workers that OECs for all category of workers including domestic workers or household service workers bound for Kuwait issued prior to issuance of the POEA Governing Board Resolution (GBR) No. 04 dated Jan 15, 2020 shall be valid for deployment.
The POEA Advisory further stated that all workers with exemption from Balik-Manggagawa processing prior to the issuance of the GBR dated Jan 15, 2020 shall be valid for deployment. All workers availing for exemption from Balik- Manggagawa processing after the issuance of the above cited GBR dated Jan 15, 2020 shall no longer be valid for deployment.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff