The agreement on the employment of domestic workers was signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah in Kuwait City.
KJ Rosales
Philippines, Kuwait ink MOU on domestic workers
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - May 12, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Kuwait signed yesterday a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will protect Filipino workers in the Gulf nation.

The agreement on the employment of domestic workers was signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah in Kuwait City.

The agreement came on the second day of the visit of Philippine officials to Kuwait and weeks after President Duterte called on Filipinos there to come home.

Prior to the signing, the foreign ministry officials discussed the state of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Also present at the signing ceremony were Philippine special envoy Abdullah Mama-o and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

Roque earlier said the ban on the deployment of workers to Kuwait may be partially lifted once the agreement is signed.

Meanwhile, senators welcomed the signing of the MOU that provides for the protection of an estimated 260,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state.

But Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said benefits of the MOU should be tested by allowing the deployment of workers, adding that the Philippine government should do its best not to send household service workers but skilled employees or professionals to the Arab country.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate committee on labor and employment, commended officials of both countries for working on the MOU.

“We hope this landmark development marks the start of a better era for our kababayans (countrymen) and diplomatic relations with Kuwait,” Villanueva said.

“We also hope that with this MOU, cases of abuses against our overseas workers will be prevented and resolved in a swift and just manner,” he said.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), along with the senior state officials “who helped make the final push, deserve credit for persevering and closing this deal despite the recent difficulties between our countries.”

“Moving forward, our government must do everything in its power to ensure that the OFW rights enshrined in the agreement are upheld by the Kuwaiti government,” Gatchalian said.

He said the Philippine government should work with the proper Kuwaiti authorities to establish effective enforcement mechanisms, which will ensure compliance with the MOU and impose tough sanctions on offenders.

“Otherwise, the (MOU) will become a mere paper tiger,” Gatchalian said.

He said the DFA should also be proactive in negotiating similar deals with countries that have yet to establish adequate safeguards for the rights of OFWs stationed there. –  With Paolo Romero

ALAN CAYETANO DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DOMESTIC WORKERS
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