The Philippines and Kuwait on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the protection of Filipino workers in the Gulf state, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah signed the Agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers on behalf of their respective countries.
Also present during the signing was Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
The signing came two days after Philippine officials held a meeting with Kuwaiti officials.
Details of the agreement have yet to be released by the DFA but presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had said among the provisions of the deal were OFWs should have a day off and get at least seven hours of sleep daily and their passports should no longer be confiscated by their employers.
Manila had been ironing out an agreement with Kuwait on the protection and welfare of OFWs following the death of several Filipinos in the Middle Eastern nation, including Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer last February.
The discovery of Demafelis' body has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to ban the deployment of newly hired Filipino workers to Kuwait.
However, videos of the rescue of Filipinos by Philippine Embassy staff from their Kuwaiti employers circulated, angering the Kuwaiti government which viewed the act as a violation of its sovereignty and decried what it called as “inappropriate behavior” by the diplomatic staff.
Kuwait also expelled Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa and recalled its envoy in Manila.
With the MOU finally signed, Bello said he would recommend to Duterte the partial lifting of the deployment ban.
In an earlier statement, Roque said Kuwait agreed to create a special police unit that the Philippine Embassy can liaison with regarding complaints of Filipino workers and a 24-hour hotline that OFWs can call for assistance. —Virgil Lopez/KBK, GMA News