THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ordered on Saturday, November 27, the temporary suspension of deployment of newly hired household service workers (HSWs) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

In his "Very Urgent" Memorandum, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III ordered all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (Polos) in Saudi Arabia to temporarily suspend the verification of newly hired domestic workers.

"In the interest of the service, you are hereby instructed to temporarily suspend the verification of new hires domestic workers effective immediately pending the issuance of the new guidelines by the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration)," said Bello.

"As such, a new order shall be issued for the resumption of the processing of the above documents once the new guidelines has been finalized and fully implemented," he added.

In a separate interview, Bello said the temporary suspension was prompted by reports of labor abuse involving a retired general in KSA.

He is referring to the cases of several overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were under the employ of retired General Ayed Thawah Al Jealid and who faced physical and verbal abuses.

"Gen. Ayed was able to circumvent Polo rules on verification by placing in the employment contract a pseudo KSA employer when in fact, he was the real employer," he said.

"To avoid this situation, where the HSW will be assigned to an employer, who is previously blacklisted, the new verification guidelines will require that the exact address of the employer's house in KSA will be stated in the employment contract," added Bello.

To note, KSA is the top destination for OFWs. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)