By Christine Cudis
MANILA – The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) on Thursday backed the call to ban the deployment of domestic workers to Kuwait until preventive measures have been adopted by the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments.
In a statement, NAPC Formal and Migrant Workers Rep. Edwin Bustillos said the move will ensure and guarantee the promotion and protection of domestic workers’ rights and welfare.
Two OFWs in Kuwait, Jeanelyn Pardenal Villavende and Constancia Lago Dayag, were killed by their employers last year.
On May 11, 2018, the gruesome death of Joanna Demafelis led to a diplomatic crisis between the Philippines and Kuwait, and an agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers was signed by the two countries.
NAPC has called for the review and renegotiation of the agreement to include live-out arrangement, instead of the usual live-in arrangement for domestic workers, and requires employers to provide for their monthly housing allowance.
“Joint and solidarity liabilities of recruitment agencies of origin and destination countries should also be included in said agreement,” Bustillos said.
The sector also suggested that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) should also strictly implement the bond deposit requirements including that of Foreign Recruitment Agencies for compliance of awarding of monetary liabilities and standardize domestic workers’ contracts according to ILO Convention No. 189 and other similar international instruments that promote decent work.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, has commissioned a top-notch criminal lawyer to handle Villavende’s case against her employer, who is currently detained in Kuwait.
The agency has also provided the family with PHP100,000 financial assistance.
Demafelis’ killer, Mouna Ali Hassoun, was found guilty of murder by the Syrian District Criminal Court in September last year.
The discovery of her body, believed to have been kept inside the freezer for more than a year, sparked outrage in the country and led to the previous deployment ban of new Filipino workers to Kuwait.
On January 3, the government announced anew the ban on the deployment of newly-hired household service workers (HSWs) to Kuwait.
Based on Governing Board Resolution 01, series of 2020, the POEA declared a partial ban on the sending of Filipino workers, particularly newly hired HSWs, effectively immediately. (PNA)