The Philippines announced on Monday that it will hold a special exhibition to provide employment for workers returning from Kuwait. According to its official news agency, which published the news today at 8 pm Manila time, 3:00 pm Kuwait time, it will give money to workers returning from Kuwait. 

The Philippines Regional Director for Employment and Employment, Johnson Kanet, told a press conference carried by the official Philippine News Agency that a special exhibition will be organized for Filipino workers returning from Kuwait, in the western Visayas region. 

He added that the Ministry of Labor and Employment will oversee the exhibition work, which aims primarily to provide employment opportunities for migrant workers returning from Kuwait, adding that the date of the exhibition is not yet determined, and is waiting to determine the companies contributing to.

"In addition to the job fair, returning workers are entitled to 5,000 pesos  as financial assistance from the Overseas Workers 'Welfare Department," said Kony Benundo, who is in charge of the Department of Programs and Services of the Overseas Workers' Welfare Department. "The returnees will receive 20 thousand Philippine pesos (equivalent to 115 Kuwaiti Dinars) as the amount of state aid from the state," he said.

Monday, 19 February 2018 14:43

177 OFWS GRANTED AMNESTY RETURN FROM KUWAIT

One hundred seventy-seven (177) OFWs from Kuwait arrived in Manila today, 18 February 2018.  The OFWs, majority of whom are household service workers who availed of the Kuwaiti government’s amnesty program, were repatriated through the efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OMWA) and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.

This puts the running total of repatriated OFWs from Kuwait to around 1700.

The repatriated OFWs will be leaving for their home provinces after receiving Php 5,000 each in financial assistance from the DFA.  Many of them expressed their desire to seek employment opportunities in countries other than those in the Middle East.

Many of the distressed OFWs are victims of illegal recruitment who entered Kuwait through neighboring countries.

 

The DFA continues to negotiate with the Kuwaiti government for an extension of the amnesty program which will allow undocumented OFWs to process the documents that they need to work legally in Kuwait.

DFA-OMWA and the Embassy have been strengthening its campaign to educate and inform about human trafficking to prevent them from falling prey to unscrupulous groups and individuals.  The Embassy, on its part, is quick to respond to reports of abuses from distressed OFWs and has been offering a temporary shelter for OFWs who escape from abusive employers and who seek refuge in the Embassy.

DFA-OMWA and the Embassy continue to work closely with the Kuwaiti government in protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of OFWs in Kuwait.

With many reports coming out about different cases of abuse and maltreatment of OFWs working in Kuwait, many families whose relatives are working in the said country fear for their lives and safety.

Such is this case of a certain Filipina which was shared on social media by her sister under the name of LemienHo Lee.

According to the Facebook post, Lemien is seeking for help to find her sister who had left the Philippines to try her luck as an OFW in Kuwait in 2010.  Since then, Lemien claimed the OFW had not gone back to her family anymore.

Lemien was quite worried that her sister named Rahima Abdulkadir had been suffering from abuse which they were just unaware of.  Amidst the many cases of violence in Kuwait, they cannot help but worry too much about her safety.  For one, she had not communicated with her family for 5 long years so they were already wondering what happened to her.

 

It was learned that the last communication they had was during the last day of Ramadan in 2015

It is then that Lemien is seeking help from government agencies to extend all possible means to locate Rahima and check on her safety.  The OFW had been previously seeking help on their last conversation so they wanted to know if she is still alive.

Communication with Rahima was quite difficult as she was prohibited by her employer to use a mobile phone

grth

 

Interpol is tracking the employers of Joanna Daniela Demafelis, a Filipino worker whose body was found in a freezer in Kuwait.

The employers were identified as Nader Issam Assaf, Lebanese, and his wife, Mona Hassoun, Syrian.

The body of Demafelis, who arrived to work for the couple in Kuwait in 2014, was found in the couple’s freezer at their home in Kuwait’s Hawally.

Assaf, his wife and two children fled Kuwait in November 2016. The apartment’s owner only recently got a court permission to enter the apartment.

Officials were hoping that Assaf and his wife will be arrested as they thought they were in Lebanon. However, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported that they are in Syria.

According to Al-Rai, Assaf reported that Demafelis went missing two days before he and his family fled Kuwait.

Assaf, who grew up in his paternal aunt’s house in Beirut, is believed to be controlled by his wife according to his relatives who said he cannot even smoke in front of her.

“It’s impossible. My nephew would never kill anyone,” his aunt told Al-Rai, adding that she raised him after his father left his mother.

“The last time we saw him was around two years ago when he came for his father’s funeral. He then returned to Kuwait and we later learnt that he went to Syria,” she added.

“Maybe his wife is behind the crime. She is edgy and he always feared her. He once let her kick his mother from their house in Kuwait,” Assaf’s cousin said.

His relatives added that Assaf’s mother once visited him in Syria and when she returned she said he looked “mentally instable.”

As murdered Filipina overseas worker Joanna Demafelis makes her final journey home today, Kuwaiti authorities again assured the Philippines they will get her killers and bring them to justice.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said officials of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the assurance in their meetings with Philippine Ambassador Rene Villa.

“We have again been assured by Kuwaiti authorities that they will do everything to find those responsible for the death of Joanne and bring them back to Kuwait so they could face justice,” Ambassador Villa said at the Al-Sabah Hospital where he witnessed the sealing of the casket containing the remains of Demafelis.

The envoy said he conveyed the assurance to Demafelis’ family in the Philippines in a telephone conversation on Wednesday evening.

“Kuwaiti authorities want to let us know that they, too, were shocked, outraged, and saddened by Joanne’s murder and that they will make sure justice is served,” Ambassador Villa said.

According to the diplomat, Kuwaiti authorities said they are working closely with Interpol to locate Demafelis’ Lebanese employer and his Syrian wife who are the principal suspects in the murder. The two are believed to be either in Lebanon or Syria.

Joanna Daniela Demafelis, the OFW whose body was found in a freezer in Kuwait-Arrived in Manila

The frozen remains of the 29-year old domestic worker from Sara, Iloilo, were discovered last week by authorities inside a freezer at an apartment that has been abandoned by its tenants for more than a year.

The DFA Office of Migrant Workers Affairs said Demafelis’ remains will be repatriated at 3 p.m. on board a Gulf Air flight via Manama and arrive in Manila at 11:15 a.m. on Friday. The remains will be transferred to a Philippine Airlines flight that will arrive in Iloilo at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said the DFA is shouldering the repatriation of the remains to Iloilo and is providing P50,000 as assistance.

The DFA also shouldered the airfare of a cousin of Demafelis who will be accompanying the remains home

Recently, the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) approved a Federal Law No. 10 of 2017.  The said law has 41 articles which aim to regulate the working relationships between the employers and the workers.

According to the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, the law likewise aims to protect both parties, the employer, and the worker.  It includes labor contracts, working hours, official leave, recruitment agencies and settlement of the dispute.

His Highness Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a law which gives the domestic helpers the following benefits:

  • Payment of wages to be given not later than every 10th of the following month
  • 12 hours of rest per day with 8 hours of consecutive rest
  • One rest day every week with pay
  • Medical leave of 30 days per year
  • Round-trip ticket to home country every 2 years
  • Decent accommodation and free meals
  • Working clothes if required by the employer
  • Possession of important personal documents such as passport and IDs

On the other hand, the following are prohibited by the said law:

  • A worker who is below 18 years old
  • Assigning tasks that are not included in the working contract
  • Exposing the worker to danger and physical harm

Meanwhile, here are other provisions included in the law:

  • The recruitment agency should give a copy of the job offer to the worker before leaving the country
  • The Labor Contract should be approved by MoHRE
  • The Tadbeer Centres will provide orientation, training and proper visas
  • The employer will be under 6 months probationary period. Within the period, the employer will decide either to continue the contract or terminate it.  The agency should shoulder the expenses to be incurred by the worker in going home
  • The employer should not deduct any amount from the worker’s salary except for damages done. Said amount should not be more than ¼ of the amount of salary
  • The employer has the right to terminate the contract if the service of the worker is not satisfactory
  • The worker must be treated decently and not exposed to violence

The said law will be implemented 2 months after it has been published in the official gazette, covering 19 support service jobs such as: cooks, domestic helpers, drivers, guardeners, guards, nannies, nurses, valet parkers, private trainers and sailors.

Federal Law No. 10 serves as a guide to domestic helpers, recruitment agencies and employers.

When an alarm sounded for the second time Shanthi Viswanathan shut the doors to her classroom, made the students crouch on the floor and covered the windows

New York: A quick-acting Indian-American maths teacher is being hailed for saving the lives of her students during the shooting rampage at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.

When the fire alarm sounded for the second time on Wednesday afternoon, just before her class was to end, Shanthi Viswanathan knew something wasn't right. So, instead of sending the students into the hallway, she shut the doors to her classroom, made the students crouch on the floor and covered the windows, keeping them out of the reach and sight of the gunman, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

"She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids," Dawn Jarboe, the mother of one of Viswanathan's students, told the newspaper.

When an elite police contingent known as a SWAT team came and knocked on the door asking her to open it, "Viswanathan took no chance that it wasn't a trick by the gunman to get in" the newspaper said.

"She said, 'knock it down or open it with a key. I'm not opening the door,'" Jarboe quoted her as telling the police.

"Some SWAT guy took out the window and cleared our room," Jarboe's son, Brian, texted his mother, the newspaper said.

A former student of the school, Nikolas Cruz, barged into Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine's Day and killed 15 students and two staff members with an AR-15 automatic rifle.

No motive has been established as of Friday afternoon for the killings.

However, he was reported to have had a troubled childhood and had threatened in a YouTube post to shoot up schools.

Although it was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency closed the investigation without locating him, according to media reports.

The shooter abandoned his gun and during the ensuing chaos mixed in with the students to escape. He was captured about 40 minutes later in a neighbouring town, authorities said.

In the entire Broward County, where Parkland is located, the Indian population is 22,600, according to statisticalatlas.com. But none of those killed are of Indian descent.

Saturday, 17 February 2018 22:30

Do not use these products, UAE ministry warns

Ministry withdraws baby food product made by a French company due to possible Salmonella contamination

The Ministry of Health and Prevention has issued a circular to relevant entities to withdraw Lactalis, a baby food product that could be contaminated with Salmonella, as well as other products, officials announced on Saturday.

Lactalis is being withdrawn at the request of the manufacturer.

 

The ministry’s circular also warns against the use of unlicensed addiction remedies, some cosmetics containing a high concentration of mercury, a herbal formula for weight loss, nutritional supplements that cause high blood pressure, and some skin whitening products.

The ministry requested the entities concerned to take necessary measures to withdraw the products from the market and prevent their circulation and import. These products are not registered with the ministry’s Drug Department.

Dr Ameen Hussain Al Ameri, assistant undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing and chairman for the Supreme National Pharmacovigilance Committee, said those affected by these counterfeit products should inform the ministry or other health authorities so they can take appropriate action.

In case of any side effects, the ministry should be informed via the ADR side effects form available at www.cpd-pharma.ae or by calling 023201448, faxing 023201947, emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or using the toll-free number 80011111.

Possible contamination

Dr Al Amiri said a circular was issued for the withdrawal of baby food produced by French company Lactalis International, further to Circular No. 15247 of 2017, knowing that the manufacturer has voluntarily withdrawn all batches of the product that have been packed at the Craon plant because of possible contamination with Salmonella Agona, which causes fever and diarrhoea.

The product is registered with the ministry’s Drug Department. Its authorised agent has been requested to withdraw the product from the country’s markets.

Un-accredited products

Dr Al Amiri said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission have issued a warning to marketers and distributors of 12 products with deceptive claims about their ability to help treat opiate addiction. The marketing and sale of these products is carried out illegally.

Mercury warning

Dr Al Amiri also cited a warning from Dubai Municipality regarding the withdrawal of three Chinese cosmetic products used for bleaching and clearing the skin, which proved that they contained a high concentration of globally banned mercury, following an analysis of samples of the products at Dubai Central Laboratory of the municipality.

These products are Yalan Cream, Slimming Body Capsule Plus and Hao Meng Specific Wipe Off Fleck Cream.

Fake illegal products

Herbal drinks

A warning against the use of the product Tarty Slim Plus Capsules from the Thailand-based company Rawinnipa has also been issued. The municipality’s Environmental Health and Safety Control Sector analysed the product, which is used as herbal supplement for weight loss, and discovered that it contains undeclared pharmaceutical substances — namely Sibutramine-Desmethylsibutramine. Sibutramine can cause high blood pressure and increased heart rate in some patients.

Sex pills

The assistant undersecretary said the ministry has received a warning from the Department of Health Abu Dhabi about the product Golden Bull Capsules of Italian company Don Vigaron, which is used as a supplement and sexual enhancer for men.

The results of the analysis showed that the product contains an undeclared drug ingredient, Sildenafil. This substance can cause a severe drop in blood pressure that may reach a dangerous level and can be a major risk to patients with heart disease or diabetes or those who are overweight, especially those who take drugs containing nitrate.

Skin whitening

Dr Al Amiri also warned against skin whitening product Flawless Beauty, sold on www.flawlessbeautyandskin.com, as the FDA and the manufacturer have withdrawn all glutathione products used as bleach products, marketed either alone or with vitamin C and sterile water.

He appealed to residents to avoid paying attention to false claims promoted through social media.

Withdrawn de-addiction products

Opiate Freedom Center (Opiate Freedom 5-Pack)
U4Life LLC (Mitadone)
CalmSupport LLC (CalmSupport)
TaperAid (TaperAid and TaperAid Complete)
Medicus Holistic Alternatives LLC (Natracet)
NutraCore Health Products LLC (Opiate Detox Pro)
Healthy Healing LLC (Withdrawal Support)
Soothedrawal Inc (Soothedrawal)
Choice Detox Center Inc (Nofeel)
GUNA Inc (GUNA-ADDICT 1)
King Bio Inc (AddictaPlex)

Withdrawn bleaching products

Relumins Advanced Glutathione kits w/ 900mg vials
Relumins Advanced Glutathione kits w/ 1500mg vials
Relumins Advanced Glutathione kits w/ 3000 vials
Relumins Vitamin C Solvent ampoules
Tatiomax Gluatathione Whitening kits w/ 1400mg vials
Saluta Glutathione Whitening kits w/ 600mg vials
Saluta Glutathione Whitening kits w/ 1200mg vials
Saluta Glutathione Whitening kits w/ 1800mg vials
Laroscorbine Platinum Vitamin C with Collagen, 1100mg
Tationil Glutathione Whitening 10 vial kits
Tationil Glutathione Whitening (5 sets of 10 vial kits)
Laennec Human Placenta Whitening kits, 2ml vials
Reiki Glutathione Whitening kits
TAD Glutathione Whitening kits w/ 600mg vials
TP Drug Laboratories Vitamin C ampoules
Sterile water ampoules
Ling Zhi capsules

 

Source: GulfNews

MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday reminded Kuwait of its obligation under international law to treat foreigners in its country the way it treats its own nationals. 

This amid reports of abuse against Filipino domestic workers in the Gulf state, which had prompted a Philippine deployment ban and a repatriation program.

“I would like to remind Kuwait authorities of the standards by which aliens should be treated in their territory,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a news conference.

“Under international law, each country is bound to give to the nationals of another country in its territory the benefits of the same laws, the same administration, the same protection, and the same redress for injury which it gives its own citizens, neither more nor less," said the official, an international law expert. 

Ties between the Philippines and Kuwait have been frayed amid the Duterte administration's recent efforts to protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state following a string of deaths of Philippine migrants. 

President Rodrigo Duterte recently ordered a ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait and encouraged those still working there to go back home under the government’s repatriation program.

His criticism of the abuse of migrant workers escalated with the discovery of the body of domestic worker Joanna Demafelis, who was found inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait. She was last seen alive in September 2016. Initial investigation found signs of abuse.

Kuwait has been displeased by Duterte’s recent tirades, with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah saying the President's remarks came as a surprise.

"We condemn statements from the Philippine president, especially as we are in contact with the Philippine authorities on a high level to explain the workers’ conditions in Kuwait.”

"Escalation does not serve the ties between Kuwait and the Philippines," Sheikh Sabah said, adding that 170,000 Filipinos "live a decent life in Kuwait. 

"But separate accidents unfortunately happen, and we are providing our Filipino counterparts with the results of the investigations," he said. 

Roque, in response to the Kuwaiti top diplomat’s comments, said it is Duterte’s duty to ensure that Filipinos in foreign lands are well protected.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Kuwaiti Ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Alhwaikh are set to meet Thursday to discuss the issue.

“Secretary Cayetano was tasked to get a commitment from Kuwait on how to protect Filipino nationals in Kuwait,” Roque said.

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