Malacañang on Wednesday announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the full lifting of the deployment ban of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait.
“Upon recommendation of Special Envoy to Kuwait Abdullah Mama-o, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte tonight instructed (Labor) Secretary to totally lift the ban on deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a message to Palace reporters.
Upon his arrival from Kuwait last May 12, Roque said the Philippine government had partially lifted the deployment ban for “skilled” and “semi-skilled” OFWs in the Gulf state.
The partial lifting of the deployment ban came after the Philippines and Kuwait signed a memorandum of agreement protecting the OFWs in Kuwait.
Duterte had earlier ordered to stop the deployment of Filipino workers due to series of reported abuses and deaths of Filipino workers including Joanna Demafelis.
Demafelis’ body was found in a freezer inside the apartment of her Lebanese employer, Nader Essam Assaf, and Syrian wife Mona Hassoan in Kuwait.
Both Assaf and Hassoan are now detained in their respective countries and facing death penalty for the murder of Demafelis.
After he ordered the total deployment ban, Duterte had demanded that a memorandum of understanding be signed between the two countries to ensure the protection of the OFWs in Kuwait.
Duterte demanded that the OFWs should be given seven hours of sleep, a weekly day off with pay, adequate food, and safekeeping of the housemaids’ passports in the Philippine embassy.
Duterte appointed Mama-o as special envoy to Kuwait after Kuwait expelled Philippine ambassador to Kuwait Renato Villa in protest of “uncoordinated” rescue done by the Philippine embassy to OFWs who ran away from their alleged abusive employers. (Jelly Musico, Philippine News Agency)