The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has issued an order for the preventive suspension of the employer of slain overseas Filipino worker Jullebee Ranara, whose burned body was found on Sunday in the desert in Kuwait.
"Upon review of the case involved and with the existing facts we had, we filed, the Department of Migrant Workers filed ... the employer involved, and we already issued an order preventively suspending the employer of OFW Jullebee Ranara," DMW Undersecretary Bernard Olalia said at a press briefing.
"Ang ibig sabihin ng preventive suspension ay hindi siya puwedeng mag-hire ng OFW ngayon at kailanman (The preventive suspension means the employer could no longer hire OFWs starting from now and forever). The preventive suspension will later on lead to a blacklisting upon the termination of the proceedings," Olalia added.
The DMW is also set to file cases against two recruitment agencies.
"After examination of the facts involved, by next week, there will be a recruitment violation case that will be filed against the PRA (Philippine recruitment agency) and the FRA (foreign recruitment agency) involved," Olalia said.
Following Ranara's death, the DMW will be holding a meeting with all local recruitment agencies sending household services workers to Kuwait to discuss issues and concerns regarding deployment.
Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said the DMW and the Department of Foreign Affairs had a consensus "to engage the Kuwaiti government in a discussion about stricter safeguards, more responsiveness, and concrete action, especially on calls and assistance to OFWs in Kuwait."
Ople added that the DMW is eyeing the resumption of bilateral labor talks with the Kuwaiti government before the start of Ramadan in March.
No deployment ban
Ople reiterated that the DMW does not see the need to implement a deployment ban to Kuwait following Ranara's death.
"If you impose a deployment ban, you are sending a message that Kuwait is not suitable for workers. 'Galit-galit tayo. Hindi kami magpapadala sa inyo (We are at odds with each other. We will not deploy our workers). We understand that because of the Filipinos' anger toward the incident, others think the deployment ban is what should be properly done," she said.
"'Yung sa amin lang naman, meron namang puwang para mag-usap. Ngayon ang dapat ayusin 'yung agenda ng pag-uusapan."
(But for us, there is a space for negotiations. What needs to be fixed is the agenda of the negotiations.)
Ople said Kuwait had no intention to cut off ties with the Philippines, and it had written to the victim's mother that it was not condoning the crime and that it was confident that justice would be obtained.
"It should not be seen as a sign of weakness on the part of the Philippine government in deciding not to impose a deployment ban," she said.
Meanwhile, a fact-finding team led by Undersecretary for Foreign Employment and Welfare Services Hans Leo Cacdac will look into the welfare cases of distressed Filipino workers in Kuwait. This includes the possible filing of cases in labor tribunals in the Middle Eastern country and the facilitation of the safe repatriation of OFWs.
Ople also welcomed the proposal of Senator Raffy Tulfo to look for alternative markets for domestic workers.
"I see the need to publish the list of countries that accept Filipino domestic workers, the safeguard mechanisms that are in place in those countries, and even the number of welfare cases that we have been experiencing in those countries," she said. —KG/VBL, GMA Integrated News