The Department of Labor and Employment on Friday (February 14) has officially announced that it will resume deployment of household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait after both parties have reached an agreement regarding the protection and safety of Filipino HSWs in the Gulf State.
The recent development means that the government will resume the processing and deployment of all remaining categories of domestic workers or household service workers to Kuwait.
PH Lifts Total Deployment Ban on Kuwait
The announcement was based on POEA governing board resolution no. 7 approved on February 13, which states that the government will now resume processing and deployment of all types of workers bound to the Gulf estate, as shared in a report by the Manila Bulletin.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who also chairs the POEA governing board, the approval was decided because of the filing of charges against the suspected killers of OFW Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende.
In a statement, he explained: “After due consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and with the filing of appropriate charges against the perpetrators [in the killing] of OFW Jeanelyn Villavende, the Governing Board of the POEA unanimously approved the lifting of the remaining ban in Kuwait concerning the deployment of household workers.”
Last month, the government imposed the total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait following another death of a Filipina domestic worker in the Gulf state.
The investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation also revealed that Villavende was sexually abused and brutally murdered.
Last week, Secretary Bello announced the partial lifting of the deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait with newly hired and returning domestic workers still being covered by the ban.
For this, Bello cited the recent signing of the harmonized standardized employment contract for HSW for the partial lifting of the deployment ban.
Furthermore, he shared that the standardized contract of employment will ensure the welfare and protection of OFWs in the Gulf state.
The salient provisions of the standard employment contract include :
- prohibition for employers to keep any of the worker’s identity documents such as passport; and
- the entitlement of a worker to own a phone and use it outside the working hours provided that she keeps the secrets and privacy of the household, and use such phone in a manner consistent with public morals to mention a few.
In other related news, a non-government organization (NGO) advocating overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on Saturday, February 15, criticized the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the full lifting of the deployment ban to Kuwait.
In a brief statement, Blas F. Ople Policy Center head Susan Ople slammed the “abrupt” lifting of the ban that will now allow the deployment of new hires and returning household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait.
The former DOLE secretary pointed out that the announcement on the lifting of the ban was made before a celebrating crowd of recruitment agency owners, to which she described the setting as inappropriate, if not downright insensitive.
She also revealed that the Ople Center’s dialogue with OFW groups showed a different consensus from the government’s decision.
According to the labor department, more than 50 percent of close to 250,000 documented workers in Kuwait are HSWs.