Senators on Tuesday welcomed the partial lifting of deployment ban to Kuwait following last week’s signing of the agreement for the protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
Senator Joel Villanueva, who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development, lauded the government’s decision to deploy skilled and semi-skilled workers to Kuwait.
As to the domestic helpers, he urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to pursue the proposal to upgrade household service work as a profession with unique skills set.
“Our HSWs (household service workers) should already be armed with NC II certificates as professional service workers, and recruitment agencies should be required to deploy only certified HSWs,” he said in a press statement.
He said HSWs are required to acquire certification from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) prior to their deployment.
“We would want DOLE and POEA to report on the required training before the deployment of HSWs through TESDA’s NC-II Domestic Work certification. We would want to know whether this has been complied, how many recruitment agencies are complying, how many HSWs have been certified prior to deployment, and what are the problems encountered,” he said.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, for his part, said the partial llifting of the deployment ban is a step in the right direction toward normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries and ensuring full protection of Filipino workers in Kuwait.
He said the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte deserves support for its effort to put in place more practical measures that would guarantee the safety and welfare of Filipinos working in Kuwait and in the entire Middle East.
“We hope that our government will remain steadfast in ensuring that the labor rights of all Filipinos working abroad, especially domestic workers, are upheld and protected at all times,” he said in a separate press statement.
Some 260,000 Filipinos, mostly household workers, are living and working in Kuwait.
In February, Duterte ordered a deployment ban on newly hired OFWs to Kuwait due to cases of abuses, including the killing of Joanna Demafelis whose body was found inside a freezer in an apartment previously occupied by her employers.
Negotiations for the agreement followed, which nearly fell through following the controversial rescue of distressed OFWs by the Philippine embassy staff last month. The rescue angered Kuwaiti officials.
Officials were sent to Kuwait to iron out the matter which culminated in the signing of the agreement advancing the protection and welfare of Filipino workers. —KBK, GMA News