LABOR Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced Friday the lifting of the deployment ban on household service workers to Kuwait.
“After due consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and with the filing of appropriate charges against the perpetrators (in the killing) of (Overseas Filipino Worker) Jeanelyn P. Villavende, the Governing Board of the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) unanimously approved the lifting of the remaining ban in Kuwait with respect to the deployment of household workers,” Mr. Bello said in a statement.
In POEA governing board resolution no. 7 approved on Feb. 13, the government will now resume processing the papers of and deploying all types of workers bound to the Gulf state.
Mr. Bello, who chairs the POEA governing board, said the approval was made in view of the filing of charges against the suspected killers of Ms. Villavende.
Last month, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) imposed a total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait following findings by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that Ms. Villavende was sexually abused before being murdered.
However, in view of the approval early this month by the Kuwait and Philippine governments of a harmonized employment contract for Filipino domestic workers in Kuwait, the POEA governing board lifted the ban on the processing and deployment of OFWs to Kuwait, except for newly-hired and returning domestic workers.
More than half of the 250,000 documented workers in Kuwait are household workers.
According to DoLE, the salient provisions of the standard employment contract include a prohibition an holding on to the worker’s travel documents and identification cards, and the worker’s right to own a phone and use it outside working hours.
Under the deal, OFWs are also entitled to a paid day off per week and cannot work for more than 12 hours a day.
Employers are also prohibited from assigning a domestic worker to work outside of Kuwait or be transferred to another employer without the OFWs’ written consent. — Genshen L. Espedido