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Pinoy Abroad

Bello wants blacklisting of abusive employers in MOU with Kuwait

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III wants the memorandum on understanding between the Philippines and Kuwait to have a clause on the "blacklisting" of employers proven to abuse Filipino workers.

"Halimbawa, 'yung isang worker ay namaltrato, there's a provision na 'yung employer at 'yung foreign recruitment agency, ma-blacklist 'yan. Hindi na sila makakuha ng OFWs," Bello said in a report by GMA News' JP Soriano on "Unang Balita" on Friday.

The Philippines and Kuwait will continue talks on the bilateral agreement for the protection of OFWs on Friday. Both sides are expected to agree on the location of the MOU's signing on that day.

Bello said both sides will thoroughly asses each provision to see if either party have counter-offers and propositions for the MOU.

"Mahalaga naman dun is both are there to negotiate terms that will provide the optimum and maximum protection for our overseas workers," he said.

Among the protections the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Foreign Affairs are seeking is the right of OFWs to keep their passport and phones and protection against being sold to other employees against their will.

Pro-OFW group Migrante argued while picketing the procedures outside the Diamond Hotel that these were rehashes of Kuwait's labor laws and demanded other provisions they believe are in the interest of Filipino migrant workers.

"Kaya nagtataka kami, ano pa 'yung pipirmahan nila at ano 'yung pag-a-agrihan [agree] nila kung lahat ng 'yon nakalaman na doon sa mga current nilang mga batas," said Migrante chairman Arman Hernando, who added that protests will continue on Friday.

Meanwhile, DOLE launched an OFW Command Center that will accept complaints and concerns from overseas Filipino workers all day locally and abroad.

The command center will be managed by the Head of International Labor Affairs Bureau and will be located at the second floor of the DOLE building in Intramuros, Manila. — Rie Takumi/RSJ, GMA News