On Jan. 15, 2020, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued a resolution imposing a total ban on sending overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait.
The STAR/Jennifer Rendon, File
DOLE to recommend partial lifting of deployment ban in Kuwait
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - February 5, 2020 - 7:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment on Wednesday said that it will push for the partial lifting of the ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait.

Once the partial lifting of the ban is issued, the deployment of skilled, semi-skilled and professional workers to Kuwait will be allowed.

Meanwhile, newly-hired household service workers are still covered by the ban.

“Balik manggagawa workers category, on the other hand, will be the subject of discussion and decision of the POEA governing board,” the department said in a release.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he will endorse the easing of the prohibition to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Governing Board after Kuwaiti officials approved of signing an agreement on the standard employment contract for Filipino household service workers.

“I had a fruitful meeting with my counterparts in Kuwait. Both sides agreed on the harmonized standard employment contract. I will talk with the POEA governing board to recommend the partial lifting of the ban,” Bello said in the department release.

The said contract prohibits employers from keeping any personal identity documents belonging to the worker, such as a passport. It also provides that workers are entitled to own a phone and be able to use it outside of working hours as long as they maintain the secrets and privacy of the household.

Moreover, employers cannot assign a domestic worker to render labor outside of the State of Kuwait or transfer them to another employer without the said worker's written consent. Otherwise, the OFW will be repatriated to the Philippines at the expense of the employer.

“The employer should ensure the OFWs adequate life and is obliged to provide the medical treatment and nursing by registering her in the health system applicable in Kuwait,” the department said.

Provisions on working conditions include the guarantee of a paid full day per week break, at least an hour break after five consecutive hours spent working, at least eight consecutive hours of night rest, and no work in excess of 12 hours a day.

However, Bello said that a total lifting of the ban would only happen if the Kuwaiti government provides an official status report on the cases of Jeanelyn Villavende, Constancia Dayag and Joanna Demafelis. 

DOLE enforced the total deployment ban in January in relation to the Kuwaiti government's alleged attempt to cover up the circumstances of Villavende's death.

“In the case of Villavende, I wanted some validation of their claim that they (accused employers) are formally charged and they are behind bars. We have to be contented who have been charged and what are the nature of the charges,” the Labor secretary said.

CONSTANCIA DAYAG DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT DEPLOYMENT BAN DOLE JEANELYN VILLAVENDE JOANNA DEMAFELIS KUWAIT KUWAITI DEPLOYMENT BAN PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION POEA SILVESTRE BELLO III
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