Philippines Bars Citizens From Working in Kuwait, Citing Abuses

A group of recruitment companies expressed support on the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the suspension of the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait

On Monday, the DFA received the first batch of workers who were repatriated on three commercial flights that left Kuwait on Sunday afternoon.

More than 250,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many as maids, said the Filipino authorities.

'We are coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on the airlift details and other travel arrangements.

According to the agency, the amnesty program was approved by the Kuwaiti government in January 2018 upon representations made by the Philipine government through the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait.

"With the advent of the series of reports involving abuses and deaths of overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait, a total ban on deployment of all overseas workers ... is hereby enforced", Mr Bello said, reading an order. More than 2.3 million Filipinos are documented as working overseas.

Demafelis was the Filipina who was found dead inside a freezer of an abandoned apartment in Kuwait recently.

Bello said that, aside from shouldering the cost of the airfare, the Philippine government shall also settle the immigration penalties of overstaying Filipinos.

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Senator Cynthia Villar, who also advocates the protection of OFWs and their rights, said it is only fitting to halt the deployment of Filipinos to "countries where they will only be abused.' In a radio interview Saturday, Villar said she "agrees" with the President in imploring Kuwaiti government to act on the deaths of Filipina domestic workers in the hands of their employers. That's the reason why I called for investigation of these welfare officers and even the labor attaché at that time", he said in a press briefing in Manila today.

Saudi Arabia has the highest number of HSWs at 105,000, and 275,000 were deployed in 2016, the highest for the past years.

OWWA added that more than 800 undocumented Filipino workers in Kuwait were scheduled to come home.

He said that, if the ban to Kuwait continues, "there will be a dramatic drop in dollar remittances amounting to over $1.3 billion because of the over 270,000 documented workers now in Kuwait".

The Philippines is one of the primary sources of domestic workers overseas, including Singapore, China's Hong Kong and Middle East countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

'We are outraged by this latest disgusting crime against our overseas Filipino workers, ' he added. "PAL is more than ready to mount extra flights to Kuwait, as needed", Philippine Airlines said. "It is a strong message to the host country that they should respect our OFWs", Migrante International Spokesman Arman Hernando said in a text message.

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