A LABOR group criticized the government at the weekend for lifting the deployment ban for Kuwait, saying justice had yet to be served for a Filipino housemaid who died in the hands of her Kuwaiti employers last year.
In a statement, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) accused Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III of breaking his promise.
“Bello announced the lifting of the ban in his meeting with local recruitment agencies, which leaves a bad taste in our mouths,” TUCP President and Party list Rep. Raymond C. Mendoza said. “This is a disservice to our President’s advocacy for overseas Filipino workers’ rights and welfare.”
Mr. Bello on Thursday lifted the deployment ban on Kuwait after the two governments reached an agreement for better working conditions of OFWs.
Mr. Mendoza said the Labor department had placed the business interest of recruiters first, making the welfare of Filipino workers abroad an “afterthought.”
Mr. Bello earlier said the ban would only be lifted once Filipino housemaid Jeanelyn Villavande gets justice.
Among the conditions met by the Kuwaiti government was the filing of charges against Jeanelyn Villavende’s employers.
Mr. Bello first imposed a total deployment ban after the Philippine government received a “dishonest” postmortem report of Ms. Villavende’s autopsy from Kuwait authorities.
The National Bureau of Investigation earlier said an autopsy showed the Filipina had been battered and sexually abused, something that was left out in Kuwait’s initial report.
Mr. Bello later lifted the deployment ban partially, only prohibiting housemaids from working in Kuwait.
Mr. Mendoza said Labor officials would be summoned to the House of Representatives this week to explain the lifting of the ban.
In 2018, the government barred Filipinos from working in Kuwait after news of the murder of domestic helper Joanna Demafelis broke. The ban lasted four months. — Gillian M. Cortez