Total deployment ban to Kuwait stays on until president Duterte's conditions are met for OFWs welfare

Manila, Philippines – Despite the positive news in the case of the slain Filipina worker in Kuwait Joana Demafelis, Malacanang said that total deployment ban to the said county is still in effect until President Rodrigo Duterte’s conditions are met.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a text message sent to reporters, the president is considering in proceeding as planned to Kuwait, only if his earlier conditions would be met for the benefits of our Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).

Roque made the statement in a text message sent to malacanang reporters as the president presided over a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“PRRD might proceed to Kuwait if DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) can assure the implementation of the conditions,” Roque said in his text message.

The spokesman was referring to the statement of the president earlier that there should be no confiscation of passport and instead be deposited with the Philippine Embasy in Kuwait.

Furthermore, the president also wants OFWs to get a 7-hour sleep, one day-off per week, to allow them to cook for their own food, and importantly, to be spared from physical abuse.

Roque added that while the said efforts are on going, the Foreign Affairs Secretary (SFA) Alan Peter Cayetano said that the deployment ban on OFWs to Kuwait will stay.

“Secretary Bello said they’re moving to include these in the employment contract. Per SFA, no final agreement [was] reached yet. Deployment ban stays,” Roque said.

Just over the weekend, positive development of Demafelis case came in. The Kuwait criminal court sentenced the couple who killed the Filipina OFW by hanging.

Despite the news, the palace had said that this was not enough for the Philippine government to lift the deployment ban.

“(T)he total ban on sending OFWs to Kuwait is still on. But of course, an agreement, a memorandum of understanding is being formulated and hopefully, the state parties will come to terms as to how our OFWs in Kuwait, as well as in other Middle Eastern countries, will be protected. So basically that will be a solution to this total ban about sending OFWs to Kuwait,” Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said last Monday.

“I think it’s still the agreement between the countries in the manner of treating our OFWs that will matter. Not the matter of the couple being brought to justice,” he added.

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