Philippine, Kuwait forge deal on Filipino domestic workers' employment
The Philippines and Kuwait signed on Friday a labor deal that aims to protect the welfare of overseas Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah inked the agreement on the employment of domestic workers on behalf of their respective countries in ceremonies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait.
Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III and other officials of the Philippine government led by Special Envoy Abdullah Mama-o and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and their Kuwaiti counterparts witnessed the signing ceremonies.
In a speech in Marawi City shortly before the forging of the labor deal with Kuwait, Duterte said he was informed that the conditions he set for the welfare and protection of Filipino household workers were acceptable to the Kuwaiti government.
Duterte cited the conditions, which should be included in the agreement.
These include seven hours of sleep of the OFWs; that they be allowed to cook their own food; that their cellphones would not be confiscated; that their passports would be kept by the Philippine embassy; that they would be given one day off in a week; and no physical abuse.
In case there is a complaint, Duterte said the OFW should be given access to call up the special police especially designated for the Filipinos.
"If all of those are present (in the agreement), 'it's okay with me," he said.
Duterte said he received a call from those in Kuwait and he was told all his conditions seemed to be included.
"I said, okay, you sign there (the agreement). I won't go there anymore," he said.
Diplomatic row arose between the Philippines and Kuwait when Duterte totally ban the deployment of OFWs to the Gulf state after a Filipina household helper was murdered and her remains were found inside a freezer last February.
Late last month, the Philippine Embassy staff launched covert rescue operations of abused OFWs. The video of the operations was even released to the public, irking the Kuwaiti government. This resulted to the expulsion of Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Rene Villa and the recall of Kuwait envoy to the Philippines. Celerina Monte/DMS