DEPUTY FM: DEAL REACHED TO BRING NORMALCY TO FILIPINO WORKERS

Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said Monday that an agreement has been made with Filipino authorities in a bid to regulate workforce in the country.

Authorities in Manila made the request for the preliminary deal, Al-Jarallah told the press after a meeting of a parliamentary committee dealing with foreign affairs.

He revealed that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has invited Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte to visit Kuwait next month, pointing out that, “calm has by and large been restored after the uproar created by Duterte’s recent remarks.” “We made clear to the authorities in the Philippines that this issue needs to be rectified,” Al-Jarallah said, citing “positive feedback” from Filipino officials.

Meanwhile, Al-Jarallah went on to say that the parliamentary committee has been assigned to investigate the Filipino President’s comments, pending a report to be referred to parliament, On the meeting, the Kuwaiti deputy foreign minister noted that prices of domestic service, which have gone through the roof as of late, was among topics discussed.”We are working closely with our embassies abroad to address this issue,” he added.

Philippines to Kuwait: Our passports will be at the Embassy and their salaries through Knet

  • Philippines to Kuwait: Our passports will be at the Embassy and their salaries through «Knet»

Philippine Ambassador to the country Renato Pedro Ovila disclosed the details of his foreign minister's meeting with the Kuwaiti ambassador in Manila, Assistant to Al-Zawikh, where they discussed the situation of the Philippine employment in Kuwait. He pointed out that the two sides agreed on the importance of the joint meeting scheduled to be held next March on signing a new agreement For domestic workers to ensure their rights and protect them from abuse or abuse, explaining that it is under discussion on determining the date and place.

In a statement to the news agency, Ophila said that his country's foreign minister had asked the Kuwaiti ambassador to extend the deadline given by the Ministry of the Interior to the violators of the Kuwaiti residency law to benefit all members of the Filipino community in Kuwait. From the incident of the victim of the freezer.

He pointed out that 900 of the community members of the violators of the law of residence have already left Kuwait, as well as access to 1800 of the community is cleared from the Ministry of the Interior out of 3000 submitted to take advantage of the deadline granted by the Interior of the violators, according to statistics of the embassy, indicating that the embassy expects That the number of applicants to benefit from the deadline during the current period.

The Philippine Foreign Ministry also proposed that the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait keep the passports of Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait in order to prevent misuse by homeowners.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Kaitano said that if the passport remained in the hands of the Filipino worker, it would be her responsibility to the Kuwaiti government if she left the employer. So the compromise is that the Philippine embassy in Kuwait keeps passports. "

The Philippine Foreign Minister said that some Kuwaiti homeowners holding passports of Filipino workers were preventing them from leaving and reporting violations.

In particular, the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 states: "The Philippine passport shall remain at all times owned by the Government of the Philippines and the holder of the passport shall be a holder of it, as long as the passport is valid and may not be handed over to any person or entity other than the Government or Representatives. " This means that under the law, it is not permissible to hand over the passport even to homeowners and businesses.

He added that the system of salaries of domestic workers should be done through ATM cards, and said at least when dealing with ATMs, in banks, there will be an electronic record to enable us to know whether the workers get their salaries or not.

Kaytano also proposed the idea of creating an international line for Filipino migrant workers to report their concerns immediately.

On the other hand, the Philippine government has formed a technical committee of members of the People's Assembly, whose task is to set a budget for the repatriation of Filipino workers from the Middle East, including those returning from Kuwait.

Gisolito Manalo, chairman of the committee, said that the committee is working in the light of the remarks made by Philippine President Rodrigo Dutertti, which revolves around the axis of preserving the dignity of Philippine employment. The new committee is trying to ensure the rapid settlement of Filipino workers in the Philippines, The Philippine Labor and Employment Minister Silvestre Bello had proposed to the Philippine Congress an increase of 1.1 billion Philippine pesos in the Ministry of Labor budget for the purpose of resettling Filipino workers returning from the Eastern Mediterranean region In the light of the directives of President Rodrigo Duterti.

Members of the Philippine Congress last Wednesday expected the return of 10,000 Filipino workers from Kuwait alone, most of whom would finish working in Kuwait, and called on the Philippine government to urgently prepare for resettlement in the Philippines

PHILIPPINES AGAIN CALLS ON ITS WORKERS TO LEAVE KUWAIT

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.

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.

Family Seeks Help for OFW Missing in Kuwait, Last Conversation 5 Years Ago

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

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Syrian, Lebanese couple investigated over Filipina found in Kuwait freezer

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.”

KUWAIT MOI URGE PEOPLE TO NOT SHARE ANY FAKE NEWS SUCH AS RUMORS

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Kuwait Vows to Bring Joanneā€™s Killers to Justice as Murdered OFW Makes Final Journey Home

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

UAE President Approves Federal Law to Regulate Working Conditions between Employers and Workers

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.

Indian-American teacher hailed for saving students during Florida shooting

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.