Signing of PH, Kuwait MOA on protection of OFWs expected May 11

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DAVAO CITY (May 10) — The Memorandum of Agreement on the protection of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) between the Philippine government and the government of the Kuwait is expected to be signed Tomorrow, May 11, 2018.

Presidential Rodrigo Duterte sent  Spokesperson Harry Roque,  DOLE Secretary Silvestre Belo III, former labor Secretary Marianito Roque, Labor Attache’ Rustico dela Fuente, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait Mohd Noordin Lomondot to work on the proposed MOA.

The Philippine delegation met officials from the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry where the Philippines and Kuwait look forward to the normalization of ties.

Kuwait, on its part, has expressed the value of Filipinos in Kuwait.

“May 11 is the day we expect to have a signing of a memorandum of agreement,”  Roque said in press briefing at the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait on Wednesday night.

Also, Kuwait agreed to create a Special Unit within the Police that the Philippine Embassy can liaison with regarding complaints of Filipino workers which will be available 24 hours and a Special Number that Filipino workers can call for assistance (also available 24 Hours).

The meeting of officials between the two countries likewise saw the release of four drivers.

It guaranteed that all remaining undocumented Filipinos (under 600), except for those with pending cases, will be allowed to come home.

Roque made the announcement after the Philippine delegation met with officials from the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry to discuss the diplomatic spat between the two countries.

Bello said it was agreed that the MOA shall contain a contract of employment template where the provisions “particularly stated” by President Rodrigo R. Duterte are enumerated.

These provisions include requiring workers’ passports to be deposited to the Philippine Embassy and not confiscated by employers; workers given one day-off every week; workers given seven hours sleep a day; workers provided with decent meals and sleeping quarters; and workers provided with cellphones.

Asked if there will be a total lifting of the deployment ban to Kuwait once the MOA is signed, Bello said that it will be a “partial lifting.”

”Baka (Perhaps) partial lifting lang (only) to allow the deployment ng mga (of) skilled workers and professionals. Yun ang ire-recommend ko kay Presidente (That’s what I’ll recommend to the President),” Bello said.

Moreover, Kuwait also promised to allow all remaining undocumented Filipinos (more or less 600) except for those with pending cases, to go home at their expense.

“Nabigla kami. Napasipa ako kay Atty. Harry Roque nung sinabi at their expense. That is a bonus na unexpected talaga (We were surprised. I nudged Atty Harry Roque when they said they would send undocumented Filipinos home at their expense. That is a bonus that is really unexpected),” Bello said.

The diplomatic spat between the Philippines and Kuwait started after the Kuwaiti government slammed the action taken by the staff of the Philippine embassy who conducted rescue operations of distressed Filipino workers in their country.

Duterte earlier imposed a total deployment ban on new workers to Kuwait after the murder of domestic worker Joanna Demafelis, along with a series of reported abuse and maltreatment of Filipino domestic workers.

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