MANILA — The Philippines will stop sending new workers to Kuwait for now while the authorities are looking into the recent killing of a Filipino worker allegedly in the hands of her female employer, Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said on Thursday.
Jeanelyn Villavende, a Filipino domestic worker was killed in Kuwait recently and the murder that was allegedly committed by the wife of the worker's Kuwaiti employer
"We will declare partial deployment ban which means that we will not deploy new OFWs," Bello told reporters, referring to overseas Filipino workers.
However, Bello said the Philippines will allow returning workers to leave the country but will not deploy new workers, especially domestic helpers.
According to the Philippine media, Jeanelyn Villavende, a Filipino domestic worker was killed in Kuwait recently and the murder that was allegedly committed by the wife of the worker's Kuwaiti employer.
"Now whether this will ripen into a total deployment ban will depend on what the Kuwaiti authorities will do to give justice to our countrywoman," Bello added.
The office of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed "outrage" over the death of the Filipino worker.
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"We consider Jeanelyn's tragic death a clear disregard of the agreement signed by both our country and Kuwait in 2018 which seeks to uphold and promote the protection of the rights and welfare of our workers in Kuwait," Duterte's spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday.
Panelo said the Department of Foreign Affairs is closely monitoring the case "as we look forward to its resolution for the rendition of justice to the deceased and her family."
Kuwait is a major labor destination for Filipinos in the Middle East, with over 250,000 currently working there, mostly as domestic helpers.
However, incidents of abuses against Filipino maids, where some resulted in deaths, prompted Manila to enforce a deployment ban for Filipino workers early in 2018 in Kuwait.
The ban was lifted in Many 2018 after the Philippines and Kuwait inked a memorandum of agreement that provides legal protection for Filipino maids in the Gulf State.
Under the memorandum of understanding, the Philippines and Kuwait agree to uphold ethical recruitment policies, systems, and procedures for the recruitment and employment of domestic workers, subject to the applicable laws and regulations of both parties.
HONG KONG NEWS