PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved a total deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait after a Filipina housemaid there died allegedly in the hands of her employer.
The “total deployment ban” will cover both skilled and household workers, as recommended by Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, the presidential palace said on Friday.
It will stay until a memorandum of agreement on labor standards between the the Philippines and Kuwait is fully implemented, presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) earlier endorsed the total ban after the National Bureau of Investigation’s autopsy report showed Filipino housemaid Jeanelyn Villavende had been physically and sexually abused.
Mr. Panelo accused the Kuwaiti government of “attempting to hide the said circumstance when it gave us a general autopsy report that the cause of death was trauma and bruises all over her body.”
He said the total ban would remain in effect until Kuwait stops confiscating the passports and mobile phones of Filipino workers there.
The Philippines imposed a total deployment ban for Kuwait in 2018 that lasted four months over the murder of domestic helper Joanna Demafelis.
In May 2019, it sought a review of its memorandum of understanding with the Kuwaiti government after the killing of another Filipina, Constancia Dayag.
Meanwhile, more than 100 sick Filipinos benefited from the medical assistance provided by the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait last year, the Foreign Affairs department said on Friday.
The embassy helped 108 Filipinos with medical conditions, such as stroke, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes, the agency said in a statement.
The embassy also facilitated the medical repatriation of 27 Filipinos, it said.
“The embassy’s Medical Response Team is here to provide any assistance needed by Filipinos in Kuwait, such as medical referrals to hospitals and clinics and regular hospital visits,” Chargé d’Affaires Noordin Pendosina N. Lomondot said in the statement. — Charmaine A. Tadalan