KUWAIT CITY/MANILA, April 2, (Agencies): The Philippine government’s total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait would stay despite a Kuwaiti court’s handing of death sentence against the couple accused of killing Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Joanna Demafelis, newsinfo. inquirer.net said quoting the Philippine Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
In a press briefing, Guevarra said the ban “still holds” until the country finally seals an agreement with Kuwait that would ensure protection of OFWs in Kuwait. “The agreement — that still holds … the total ban on sending OFWs to Kuwait is still on. But of course an agreement, a memorandum of understanding is being formulated and hopefully … the state parties will come to terms as to how our OFWs in Kuwait as well as in other Middle Eastern countries will be protected,” Guverra said.
Meanwhile, the Philippines Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III on Monday said he is mulling a proposal to partially lift the deployment ban of new overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait following the sentencing of the Lebanese man and his Syrian wife to death for the murder of Demafelis, said news. abs-cbn.com — the verdict welcomed by Malacanang although it may have little impact on Manila’s deployment ban to Kuwait. “What we mean by partial lifting is that we will probably recommend to the president to lift the ban on skilled workers,” Bello said. “With respect to the household service workers (HSW), we still have to study the implication of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), with respect to their protection.”
Senate President Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III still wants to pursue ‘high level talks and consultations” with host states in the Middle East as far as protecting the safety and welfare of OFWs. “Our task now is to ensure that what happened to Joanna never happens again. We need further high level talks and consultations with our countrymen’s host states in the Middle East to ensure that diplomatic, administrative and legal mechanisms are in place for the OFW protection,” the Senate leader said.
The Director General of Residence Affairs in the Interior Ministry Major General Talal Marafi tackled on Monday with a delegation from Philippines problems facing Filipinos in Kuwait, to ease import of domestic helps from the Philippines. In a press statement, Marafisaid that the meeting also delved into obstacles facing Filipion community in Kuwait, including labor rights and legal obligations from both ends.
Marafi added Philippines Deputy Foreign Minister for Immigrants Laborers Affairs Sarah Laiwala attended the meeting, including Philippines Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Pedro Villa.
The Director stressed importance on the deeply rooted relations between the two countries, calling for opening channels for dialogue to end all remaining issues regarding domestic workers, expressing as well his eagerness to boost cooperation.