The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and Kuwait next month may not immediately lead to the lifting of the total deployment ban of Filipino workers to the Gulf State, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Thursday.
As reported by GMA News' JP Soriano on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho, Bello said they may lift the deployment ban on skilled workers first once the MOU is signed, tentatively on April 7 or 8.
"If there will be a signing, this is one step towards the possible lifting [of the deployment ban], pero I also made a statement [na] if there will be a lifting, it will only be for a moment a lifting of the ban with respect with the skilled workers," he said.
The deployment ban was imposed last month following the discovery of the body of Filipina domestic helper Joanna Demafelis inside a freezer in an apartment unit previously occupied by her employers.
Prior to that, the deployment was suspended following reports of abuses and maltreatment of Filipino workers.
Bello said the final draft of the MOU -- a result of last week's meeting between Philippine and Kuwaiti officials in Manila -- is already with President Rodrigo Duterte for review.
He said it is yet to be determined whether Duterte himself will sign the MOU for the Philippines or he, Bello, will go to Kuwait for the signing.
"The moment he (Duterte) approves it then it will be ready for signing," Bello said.
Among the highlights of the draft MOU is the prohibition for employers to confiscate the passports and gadgets of their Filipino workers.
Bello said even if the MOU is signed, the total lifting of the deployment ban will depend on the progress of the Demafelis murder case. -- KBK, GMA News