Ban Kuwait celebrity from hiring Filipinos, says OFW group

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) should permanently ban a Kuwaiti social media influencer from hiring Filipino domestic workers, said a nongovernmental organization that specializes in overseas Filipino workers' (OFW) rights. 

Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, said in a statement Sunday, July 22, "By her words, publicly uttered and shared through social media, her undesirability as a foreign employer cannot be denied. She is not worthy to be even in the same room as our valiant and hardworking OFWs."

Sondos Al Qattan, a make-up artist and social media celebrity in Kuwait, recently sparked outrage for a social media post slamming the Kuwaiti government's policy to give Filipino domestic workers rest days and bar employers from holding their passports.

"The new laws that have been passed are like a pathetic film. For her to take a day off every week, that's 4 days a month. Those are the days that she'll be out. And we don't know what she'll be doing on those days, with her passport on her," Al Qattan said in Arabic in a now-deleted video, according to a report by CNN.

Al Qattan has not issued a public response as of this posting.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said on dwIZ on Saturday, July 21, that the recently signed agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait, as well as POEA guidelines, "very clearly states" that workers should be in possession of their passport and that they are entitled to day offs.

"Kuwaiti employers who refuse to follow these provisions shall be immediately blacklisted," Olalia said during the interview.

While urging the POEA to blacklist her, Ople also called on other countries that send domestic workers to Kuwait to include Al Qattan in their list of undesirable employers. (READ: Migrante demands apology from Kuwait celeb who ranted vs maids' day off)

"To stay silent in the face of such obnoxious and denigrating comments would mean encouraging racism and modern-day slavery," Ople's group said. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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