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Pinoy Abroad

Duterte to discuss OFW deployment suspension with Kuwait envoy

President Rodrigo Duterte will meet with Kuwait Ambassador to the Philippines Musaed Saleh Althwaikh to discuss the suspension of OFW deployment to Kuwait on Wednesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced Tuesday.

At a press briefing, Bello said Duterte and Althwaikh may also discuss the long-delayed signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will give Filipino workers greater protection in Kuwait.

"Baka pag-usapan nila 'yung proposed memorandum of agreement," Bello said. "Baka mag-commit si ambassador ng pipirmahan na."

Bello said they are still evaluating "conflicting" reports from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) regarding the condition of OFWs in Kuwait.

Duterte's meeting with Althwaikh and the results of the report of the Philippine labor attaché in Kuwait will be major factors in assessing whether or not the deployment suspension will be lifted, Bello said.

If, however, just one of the maltreatment cases under investigation turns out to be factual, Bello said they will strongly consider a total deployment ban.

Duterte will also meet with labor groups on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. to discuss the executive order that will ban contractualization if it interferes with a worker's right to secure tenure, organize into unions, and bargain collectively.

Bello announced on Monday that they are still mulling whether or not they will "make the suspension a total ban or to lift it."

There is an estimated 250,000 OFWs in Kuwait, 75 percent of them working as domestic helpers. —KBK, GMA News