Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday said he would issue an order for the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to slow down the processing of overseas employment certificate (OCE) for Kuwait-bound Filipino workers.
STAR/ File
DOLE orders slowdown in OFW deployment to Kuwait
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two weeks after lifting the total deployment ban on Kuwait, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is slowing down the processing and deployment of Filipino workers to the Arab state.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday said he would issue an order for the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to slow down the processing of overseas employment certificate (OCE) for Kuwait-bound Filipino workers.

Bello said the DOLE and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) agreed to the slowdown in deployment after the Kuwaiti government implemented a new policy requiring Filipinos to submit a medical certificate to show they tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“This is not a retaliatory (order), but a practical order because Kuwait is imposing an additional requirement which will bring more problems to our OFWs, so it would be better if we will just slow down our deployment,” the DOLE chief explained.

In line with his order, Bello said it will take the POEA about a month to process OECs of all workers departing for Kuwait.

He said the Philippines will only return to regular processing of OECs as soon as Kuwait stops requiring OFWs to submit the additional medical certificate.

No mass layoffs

Meantime, Bello dismissed as “fake news” reports of mass displacement of Filipino workers abroad due to COVID-19.

Calling it an isolated case, Bello explained that the displaced Filipino household service workers were employed by non-permanent residents of Hong Kong who opted to relocate elsewhere.

POEA SILVESTRE BELLO III
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