‘Total deployment ban to Kuwait would be counterproductive’

IMPOSING a total deployment ban on household workers to Kuwait following the killing of another Filipina domestic worker there would be counterproductive, a local labor leader said.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), Friday, January 3, said it could be a counterproductive move especially for those who desire to work as domestic helper in the Middle East.

Sancho said the government, rather, should see to it that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are protected through policy negotiation with foreign employers.

“They should run after ‘fly by night’ recruitment agencies who were responsible for these illegal recruitment leading to abuses and exploitation of our people,” he added.

Malacañang earlier expressed outrage over the death of another OFW in Kuwait in “clear disregard” of the 2018 agreement on workers’ welfare.

Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende allegedly died in the hands of her female employer, who is now in the custody of Kuwaiti authorities.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace condoled with the Villavende family and assured that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is closely monitoring the case.

“We consider Jeanelyn’s tragic death a clear disregard of the agreement signed by both our country and Kuwait in 2018 which seeks to uphold and promote the protection of the rights and welfare of our workers in Kuwait,” he said in a statement on January 1.

Panelo said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) has been directed to provide burial and livelihood assistance, as well as scholarship to the family members of Villavende.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office, meanwhile, is awaiting the results of the forensic investigation while coordinating with the Villavende family for the repatriation of Jeanelyn’s remains.

Following her death, the ACTS-OFW party-list has called on the government to impose a total deployment ban on household workers to Kuwait.

ACTS-OFW chairman John Bertiz, in a report, said the total deployment ban should be implemented “until the provisions of and conditions set under the existing labor agreement with Kuwait are fully implemented.”

For Sancho, however, a total ban of OFW in Kuwait would reduce our foreign remittance which a big number of Filipino families are totally dependent.

“What we need is a policy review on this issue and not total ban,” he stressed.

The labor leader further lamented that it is unfortunate that in their desire to look for a greener pasture and to lift their families from poverty, some of OFW mostly women were abused, brutally beaten and even murdered by their employers.

Gawa, he said, strongly condemns such inhuman and barbaric acts particularly the recent killing of the Filipina domestic worker.

“If there are decent, well-paying and permanent job in our country, these unfortunate incidents would not have happened,” Sancho added. (With reports from SunStar Philippines)


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