Gov’t Urged to Invoke Agreement to Stop OFW Abuses in Kuwait

MANILA – A non-government organization that assists distressed overseas Filipino workers called on the government to invoke its bilateral labor agreement with Kuwait to strengthen protective and welfare mechanisms for Filipino workers there.

In a statement, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center said, ”We urge our government to initiate talks with Kuwait on how both countries can act in unison in order to prevent the exploitation and trafficking of Filipino women workers particularly our domestic workers.”

Ople Center President Susan F. Ople noted that the Philippines and Kuwait signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of labor protection in 2012.

Under the memorandum, the two countries agreed to create a Philippines-Kuwait Joint Working Group that shall ensure the implementation of the agreement, jointly review and agree on a standard employment contract for OFWs, propose revisions of the memorandum as may be needed, and study emerging employment opportunities to provide sectors with skilled personnel.

”The Philippine government through our Philippine Embassy can initiate talks on a review of this MoU as well as revisions to favor the protection of our domestic workers in Kuwait,” Ople said.

The Ople Center also cited Section 3 of Republic Act No. 10022 on the Selective Deployment Policy, which states that ”The State shall allow the deployment of overseas Filipino workers only in countries where the rights of Filipino migrant workers are protected.”

While Kuwait had recently passed a historic law on domestic workers, the Ople Center believes that it still needs to show concrete measures to protect the rights of migrant workers.

This statement comes in the light of reported cases of maltreatment of Filipino women in Kuwait.

Most recent in this string of cases is the alleged maltreatment of 22-year old ”Almira,” who suffered burns and physical deformities as a result of physical torture inflicted by her lady employer in Kuwait.

”Almira” is now under the care of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait. With the help of the Philippine Embassy, she has filed formal charges against her employer.

The Ople Center also cited a recent rape and abduction case involving a female OFW who was beaten up by two people and forced into a car driven by a third man.

The three assailants allegedly took her to an open area in Jahra, Kuwait and took turns raping her.

The Ople Center said additional safeguards are necessary to uphold the dignity of Filipino women workers in Kuwait.

Otherwise, a moratorium on deployment should be seriously considered by the Philippine government.


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