Duterte offers govt help to Philippine workers in Kuwait

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday pledged government help to evacuate Filipinos wanting to leave Kuwait, blasting the Gulf state for "inhuman" treatment of migrant workers after reports of a gruesome killing in the country.

Duterte, who last month banned citizens from travelling to Kuwait to work, said 120 workers had died in the country last year and that the body of one Philippine woman had been found stuffed into a freezer in recent days.

Some 252,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many as maids, with reports of widespread abuse and exploitation. But it is unclear how many would want to return to the Philippines.

"When will this inhuman treatment of these Filipino workers end?" Duterte told reporters in his home city of Davao, showing the picture of a woman he said had been "roasted like a pig".

"Is there something wrong with your culture? Is there something wrong with your values?" he said, addressing the Kuwaitis.

He added that the government would ask airlines to send planes to help any Filipino workers in Kuwait wanting to return home to leave within 72 hours. He gave no further details.

Duterte has in recent weeks been highly critical of alleged abuse suffered by some of the two million Filipino workers in the Middle East, even threatening a ban on the whole region.

The Filipinos in Kuwait are among 10 million nationals working abroad, whose remittances back home are a major pillar of the poverty-stricken nation's economy.

"Of course we need the help of Kuwait," Duterte conceeded.

Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello said that for Duterte's ban to be lifted, Kuwait must sign a "memorandum of understanding" boosting protection for Filipino workers that had been pending for three years.

Kuwait has faced criticism in the past over its "kafala" system for foreign workers which has been likened to a form of bonded labour or even slavery.

The system requires the employer's consent before a worker can move to a new job prior to the end of their contract, which critics said resulted in a wide range of abuses.

Duterte's latest threat comes as he faces renewed pressure over human rights in the Philippines.

The International Criminal Court declared earlier this week that it will begin a "preliminary examination" into the charges that Duterte has committed a crime against humanity for allowing the killing of thousands of Filipino drug suspects.

 

Source: MailOnline

Philippine Minister of Labor Belo ,I say "Let your money be with you,... soak them and drink what they want"

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Philippine Minister of Labor Belo I say "Let your money be with you, Belo ... soak them and drink what they want"

The government should send a stronger message to the Philippines and stop aid

The Philippines has officially threatened to issue a comprehensive ban on sending its workers to Kuwait, including those who have obtained employment contracts but have not yet arrived in Kuwait, according to the Philippine Ministry of Labor. MP Safa al-Hashem entered the problem line, calling on the Kuwaiti government to " A stronger message "to the Philippines and the cessation of aid to them, and the influx of immigrants abuse of domestic workers, promising them a proposal to prevent the introduction of servants. 

The Philippine Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its official website that it conveyed to the Kuwaiti ambassador in Manila, Al-Zawikh assistant, "its strong protest against the ill-treatment and violations of the work of the Filipinos in Kuwait and the failure of the Kuwaiti authorities to protect them."
In a related context, Philippine Labor Minister Sylvester Bello read out the ban during a press conference, saying: "With the emergence of a series of reports involving violations and deaths of Filipino workers abroad, a total ban was imposed on the deployment of all workers in Kuwait," said spokesman for the Ministry of Labor Abigail "This decision will be activated immediately." 

A number of citizens told al-Rai that "the authorities in Manila have prevented their domestic workers from traveling through the airport, despite the desire of these workers to return to Kuwait," noting that "these workers contacted them and expressed the desire to return after the expiration of Their vacations, but they are surprised by the prevention of the Philippine authorities 

For her part, the Hashemite deputy called on the government represented by the Foreign Minister to send a stronger message to the Philippines and stop aid in response to the decisions to stop sending employment to Kuwait and the statements of Philippine Minister of Labor and Employment Silvestre Belo.

Philippine Minister of Labor  Belo ,I say "Let your money be with you,... soak them and drink what they want"." MP Safa al-Hashem called for the opening of employment from other countries, considering that the threat of Kuwait to the sovereign state is unacceptable. 

MP Safa al-Hashem blamed the expatriate workers for the problem of domestic labor, saying that "the problems come only from the mistreatment of expatriates to the servants." "We in the expatriate and his wife who killed the worker, put them in the freezer and fled abroad, the biggest example." 
Al-Hashim has vowed to come forward with a proposal to prevent them from recruiting domestic workers.

MP Safa: Stop Sending Aid To Philippines

MP Safa Al-Hashem called foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid to stop sending aid to the Philippines as a response to the decision to stop sending Filipino workers to Kuwait and to recruit labors from other countries, Al-Hashem also announced that she will file another proposal to ban on recruiting maids for expatriates as a response on a latest incident when police found a body of a Filipina maid inside a freezer at apartment when its tenants, a Lebanese man and his Syrian wife left Kuwait.

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Family Seeks Help to Find Missing OFW in Kuwait since 2015, Fears for her Safety after Case of OFW Found Dead Inside a Freezer

After every citizen of the country had been alarmed and the social media had been flooded by varied reactions from the people who were enraged with the death of Joanna Daniela Demafelis in Kuwait, another family of an OFW is seeking for help from the government.

According to Alyn MatusalemPomantoc from the Facebook group named OFW We are in the Middle East, a domestic helper named Rosalie IngoteDolliente who started to work in Kuwait in 2013 had not communicated with her family since 2015.

 

Rosalie’s family claimed that the last time they got in touched with her was during the last day of Ramadan 2015.  After that, she never contacted them. With what happened to Joanna, they are now worried about Rosalie’s safety.

The family is now appealing to the government so they may find their loved-one with fears that what happened to Joanna may become the same fate to Rosalie.

Meanwhile, in previous reports, President Rodrigo Dutertealready orderedLabor secretary Silvestre Bello III to bring home the distressed OFWs from Kuwait within 72 hours.

The president also assured that local airlines such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific will provide free transportation to bring home the affected OFWs.

The statement was made after President Duterte became very angry when the news about the OFW who was found dead in a freezer in Kuwait shocked the entire nation.

KUWAIT : Visa 18 Not Covered by Deployment Ban

For OFWs who might be feeling confused about deployment ban in Kuwait, a post on social media was made by the previous Consul General to Kuwait to serve as a guide and clarification of the said issue.

In the official Facebook account of Mr. Raul Dado, he gave two points to address the concerns of the OFWs who are affected by the deployment ban.

Mr. Dado wrote:

OFW KUWAIT DEPLOYMENT BAN

TO THE NUMEROUS QUERIES ON WHO IS AFFECTED BY THE DEPLOYMENT BAN :

  1. The President has ordered the Department of Labor that the ban will only affect Household Workers coming for the first time to Kuwait, not visa 18 or working visa holders;
  2. Household workers already in Kuwait and who do not suffer problems or abuses can also stay in Kuwait.

Apparently, the post means that Kuwait can still hire skilled workers and those domestic helpers who are in a vacation and desire to go back can still work with their previous employers in Kuwait because they are not be covered by the deployment ban.

 

For everyone’s guidance.

Meanwhile, Following President Duterte’s decision to totally ban deployment of Filipinos in Kuwait, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is set to issue a new order on Today  Monday 12 of February 2018.

DOLE ORDERS TOTAL DEPLOYMENT BAN OF OFWS TO KUWAIT

Manila: The Philippine government on Monday signed the administrative order to completely ban the deployment of all workers to Kuwait, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced Monday, In pursuit of national interest, a total ban on deployment of all OFWs to Kuwait pursuant to the directive of the President is hereby enforced, Order takes effect immediately,” he said in a media briefing.

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DOLE to implement total deployment ban for all OFW’s going to Kuwait

The Department of Labor and Employment is mulling if they will still allow OFW vacationing in the Philippines to return to Kuwait.

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DOLE orders total OFW deployment ban to Kuwait

Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed the Administrative Order to ban Deployment of OFW’s to Kuwait. 

DOLE clarified however, they will still have to study whether returning OFWs or "Balik Manggagawas" will be covered by order.

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PANGILINAN: JUSTICE FOR EACH ABUSE VICTIM RATHER THAN TOTAL BAN

Manila: Senator Francis Pangilinan said that it is better to serve justice to victims of abuse in Kuwait rather than imposing a total deployment ban, ” I think we should talk to with the Kuwaiti government, Pangilinan radio interview, Duterte on Friday night asked Filipinos in Kuwait to return home in 72 hours.

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DOLE to impose total deployment ban, vacationing workers, aside from the new hires, will no longer be allowed to return to Kuwait

Manila: The Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he will issue a new order on Monday imposing a total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait.

Bellos said he was instructed by President Rodrigo Duterte to issue the order on the total deployment ban, separate from a previous order suspending the processing of new employment certificates.
"This time, what the president wanted is a total deployment ban," Bello said.

Vacationing Filipino workers, aside from the new hires, will no longer be allowed to return to Kuwait.
It was not clear yet if Filipinos currently working in Kuwait will be covered by the ban, Bello said other details of the deployment ban will be contained in the order the Department of Labor and Employment will release on Monday

'TOTAL BAN ON FILIPINO DEPLOYMENT TO KUWAIT'; FAMILY OF SLAIN FILIPINA MAID SEEKS JUSTICE

Angered by report of her body found in Kuwait freezer, Duterte calls for assistance

Manila: The Philippines is set to ban the deployment of new Filipino workers to Kuwait from Monday, it was announced on Saturday.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III is set to issue on Monday, February 12, a total deployment ban order of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait, according to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

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“A formal order on total deployment ban will be issued by Secretary (Silvestre) Bello on Monday,” said DOLE Spokesperson Raul Francia told PNA on Saturday.

The DOLE official said they still have to thresh out other details, specifically on the workers that would be covered by the order.

“(Regarding new recruits), that has to be clarified in the order to be issued by the Secretary on Monday,” Francia said.

With this, he noted that the labor chief is set to meet with two airline companies, which both expressed willingness to help repatriate OFWs.

“He’s meeting with PAL and Cebu Pacific because they signified willingness to help,” Francia added.

He also explained that the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to bring home OFWs within 72 hours only covers workers who would like to come home, distressed workers and the 2,000 who applied for amnesty .

“Yung (order) to go home in 72 hours, that covers those who want to come home, it involves the 2,000 more or less na covered ng amnesty ng Kuwait. ‘Yung mga in distressed,” Francia added. 

Call for justice 

Meanwihle, the family of a slain overseas Filipina worker has called for justice and the immediate repatriation of her body to the Philippines. 

Outraged by report that her body was found in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered massive repatriation assistance to OFWs who want to leave Kuwait.

“I am appealing to the government, help us seek justice for my daughter’s death,” Eva Demafelis, mother of Joanna Daniela Demafelis, told ABS CBN network after she, her husband, and children arrived in Manila from their hometown in Iloilo, central Philippines on Saturday.

“I want her remains to be brought back to us immediately,” said Crisanto Demafelis, father of the slain OFW. She started working in Kuwait in 2014, to help her family and support her siblings, one of whom finished a course in criminology, family members said.

Communication with her family in Iloilo was regular during her first three months in Kuwait. In 2016, her contract was extended for another year. When no word came from her in February 2017, family members said they sought assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

OWWA is now processing papers for Demafelis’ insurance and burial coverage, including livelihood assistance for her family, an official said, adding that Filipino officials overseas did their best to locate Demafelis since 2017, but failed because her recruitment agency had closed its office.

The recruitment ban of OFWs to Kuwait will continue until the Philippine government finds the true causes of death of seven OFWs, including the case of Demafelis,” said Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello.

Meanwhile, tickets for 800 OFWs — mostly domestic helpers — have been booked. “They will be repatriated in batches from February 11 to 13,” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, adding she was implementing Duterte’s order to assist all OFWs who want to return to the Philippines.

"Those who want to be repatriated, with or without money, I will ask PAL (Philippine Airlines) and Cebu Pacific to provide the transportation. I want them out of the country (Kuwait) in 72 hours,” said Duterte in Davao City, southern Philippines on Friday.

“I am ready to take drastic steps that will help preserve Filipino life and limb. We do not intend to offend any government or anyone. But if a ban is what is needed, let it be so,” said Duterte.

“Why are all these guys (OFWs) suffering? They are there (abroad) because their children cannot go to school if they do not sacrifice. A family becomes dysfunctional once a mother or father works overseas,” said Duterte about sacrifices of Filipinos. He ordered for the arrest of the recruiters of OFWs who died in Kuwait; and human traffickers who try to send OFWs to Kuwait during the recruitment ban.

“The Filipino is no slave to anyone, anywhere and everywhere,” Duterte continued, “Every unlawful physical injury inflicted on an OFW is an injury I personally bear as the head of this republic. Every abuse committed against an OFW is an affront against us as a sovereign nation. I was reading this report (of abuses) complete with pictures while aboard the plane ... I could not stomach it. It is totally unacceptable to me. The bodies looked like they were fried or grilled.

“If my appearance ... (will solve the labour problems of OFWs in Kuwait), I might go (there),,, It’s a wait and see,” Duterte told reporters when asked about his response to Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippines Saleh Ahmad Al Thwaikh, who invited him (Duterte) last Wednesday to visit the Gulf state.

Demafelis was one of the seven OFWs who died in Kuwait, which prompted the Philippine government to order a recruitment ban to the Gulf State.

Numbers

  • Some 103 OFW died in Kuwait in 2017 and 82 in 2016.
  • Of the 260,000 OFWs in Kuwait, 170,000 are household service workers; 10,800 are undocumented.
  • A total of 10 million OFWs are based worldwide.

(With inputs from PNA)