PH recruiters back suspension of OFW deployment to Kuwait

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine recruitment agencies serving Kuwait employers on Saturday, February 10, expressed support for the Philippine government's decision to suspend the deployment of workers to the Arab nation.

The Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait (PHILAAK) made the statement a day after President Rodrigo Duterte lamented the case of a Filipino worker found dead, hidden in a freezer, in Kuwait. (READ: Duterte lashes out at Kuwait over mistreatment of Filipino workers)

“Although we are understandably saddened because of the impact on our industry sector, we agree with the decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to suspend indefinitely the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait and to repatriate OFWs there who are in distress situations and want to return home to be with their families,” PHILAAK said.

It said it was coordinating with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), following the decision, and that it will submit its recommendations to the government to improve the plight of Filipino workers in Kuwait and also to protect them from human trafficking.

In January, the government announced a suspension of the deployment of workers to Kuwait following the death of 7 Filipino domestic workers in that country. 

Duterte himself warned of a "total ban" on deployment to Kuwait, which he reiterated on Friday, February 9.

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, vice chair of the Senate labor committee, also expressed support for the President’s decision. He urged the goverment to provide jobs and livelihood assistance for returning workers.

Angara’s office said in a press statement that about 300 Filipinos applied for work in Kuwait every day prior to the ban, and that there are an estimated 250,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait, mostly domestic helpers. 

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific announced on Saturday that it will send an aircraft to Kuwait for Filipinos who wish to be repatriated.

“Cebu Pacific will be mounting a special flight to Kuwait to assist our kababayans who wish to be repatriated to the Philippines,” it said in a statement.

It said it is coordinating with the  Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait regarding the special flight. –