Pinoy Abroad

Duterte: Kuwait deployment ban stays if demands aren't met


President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he would not lift the deployment ban on new hires to Kuwait if his conditions seeking to ensure the protection and welfare of Filipino workers in the Gulf state are not met.

Duterte said he had met with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to work on the final draft of the memorandum of understanding that will be signed by representatives from the governments of the Philippines and Kuwait next month.

"Matagal kami natapos because I demanded several things. Sabi ko 'pag hindi ito nakalusot sa iyo, Silvestre Bello, Labor Secretary, pasensyahan na lang. No lifting of the ban," the President said in a speech before supporters in Pasay City.

Duterte said passports of all overseas Filipino workers should no longer be confiscated by their employers, workers must get at least seven hours a day of sleep, should be fed nutritious food, and should be allowed to avail of holiday leaves.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), for its part, mentioned provisions such as the binding effect of the Philippine-crafted employment contract, the guaranteed payment of minimum monthly net pay of $400 paid through the bank, and non-confiscation of mobile phones and other communication gadgets.


An estimated 250,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, 75 percent of which are household service workers. Some 300 Filipinos apply for work in Kuwait every day.

Many OFWs in Kuwait have complained of being treated badly, receiving no salary and other forms of abuse.

The most serious case was the recent discovery of Joanna Demafelis' body inside a freezer in a Kuwaiti apartment.

Prior to the grim discovery, her relatives in the Philippines said she had been missing for more than a year. Autopsy results showed she died due to severe beating allegedly at the hands of her employer.

Demafelis' employers have since been arrested. —JST, GMA News