The Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed a memorandum partially banning deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait.
This was after the death of Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende who was allegedly beaten to death by her employer in December.
Based on the memorandum, first-time domestic workers will be banned from being deployed to Kuwait while skilled and vacationing workers will not be covered by the ban.
“With the recent reported cases of maltreatment and deaths involving OFWs in Kuwait, you are hereby instructed to immediately convene the Governing Board for the immediate issuance of a deployment ban involving Visa 20 (domestic workers) new hires and balik-manggagawa,” the memorandum reads.
According to Bello, the partial ban will also cover former domestic workers.
“Kasi kung balik-manggagawa (If you are a balik-manggagawa), you still have an existing employment and you just went home for a vacation and you will go back to your employment. You are not covered. But if you are a former household worker, and you would like to go back for another employment, covered ka sa ban,” he said.
Recruitment agencies are also required to reimburse all the expenses of the Oversease Filipino Workers (OFW) affected by the ban.
The governing body of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), who are tasked to form a resolution to implement the partial deployment ban, already held a meeting on Friday (January 3).
Meanwhile, during their meeting about the rights of OFWs in Kuwait, Kuwaiti Ambassador Musaed Saleh Ahmad Althwaikh had asked the Labor Secretary to postpone the partial ban.
Bello reiterated they will push through with the partial ban however, there will be a possible lifting of the partial ban if the employers of Villavende will be accused.
“We might consider lifting. We might. Hindi ko pa sinasabi na we will. Kung filan nila ng physical injuries, hindi naman, (Am not saying that we will. If they will file charges due to physical injuries then we might not),” he said.
Bello reiterated that until the Kuwaiti government has not set an action to bring justice to the death of the Villavende, they will continue to implement the partial ban to Kuwait.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
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