The Philippine government on Wednesday announced that it may consider suspending OFW deployment to Middle East countries that would refuse to heed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to abolish the kafala system.
Duterte earlier urged for the complete abolition of the Kafala system, referring to it as “unjust” and “exploitative.”
Gov’t Considers Suspension of OFW Deployment to Countries with Kafala System
The labor chief said that President Duterte may order him to suspend the deployment of OFWs if the Kafala system, which requires migrant workers to have a sponsor in the country of employment to get a visa and worker’s permit, would not be abolished, The Inquirer reported.
“Hindi malayo na kapag hindi pinagbigyan ang panawagan ng ating Pangulong Duterte, baka bibigyan ako ng kautusan na magsuspend muna ng deployment sa mga bansang ayaw tanggalin ‘yung Kafala system (It’s possible that if they won’t heed the call of President Duterte, I may be ordered to suspend the deployment of OFWs to countries that don’t want to abolish the Kafala system),” Bello stated.
Regarding his push for its abolishment, the Filipino president said that the system places thousands of migrant workers, particularly household service workers in the “most vulnerable position.”
Moreover, the system has resulted in non-payment of wages, restriction of movement, denial of healthcare, sexual exploitation, and even murder.
Secretary Bello pointed out that the president had made this call for the protection of OFWs. “Kaya kung hindi nila pagbigyan ‘yan, maliwanag na ‘yung aming direksyon, and that is to suspend or at least slow down ‘yung deployment ng ating mga OFW dyan (That’s why if they won’t grant that request, our direction is clear, and that is to suspend or at least slow down the deployment of our OFWs to those countries),” Bello added.