Senator Raffy Tulfo on Saturday pushed for a total deployment ban to Kuwait after the killing of overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Jullebee Ranara.
The 35-year-old OFW whose body was found burned in the middle of a desert in Kuwait was reportedly raped and impregnated by the suspect, the 17-year-old son of her employer.
Tulfo, chairperson of the Senate committee on migrant workers, said bilateral talks between the Philippines and Kuwait could push through after the deployment ban.
However, the terms and conditions from the Philippines should be considered, he said.
The senator said the conditions include requiring a tight screening process and psychiatric exams for employers in high-risk countries, as well as members of their household, to ensure that they are fit to hire OFWs in their homes.
He added that employers must ensure that OFWs do not suffer because of their traditions, such as fasting during Ramadan.
Tulfo also proposed to gradually pull out OFWs in Kuwait, saying that they could be sent to other places where Filipinos receive proper compensation and are treated with respect, like Guam.
He said OFWs can also be sent to "safer" places such as Romania, Austria, and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople welcomed Tulfo's proposal to look for alternative markets for domestic workers.
Ople, however, 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)," she said at a press conference.
"'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.) —VBL, GMA Integrated News