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DOLE announces signing of final draft of Kuwait-PH agreement on OFW rights

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2018

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

 

MANILA, Philippines —  After a two-day meeting last week, the labor officials of the Philippines and Kuwait have agreed on the final draft of the bilateral agreement or the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

Kuwait has also agreed on the provisions concerning the right of OFWs to keep their passports and on issues regarding their contract.

In a message,  Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said it is possible that within two weeks, Kuwait will be able to sign the MOU between the two countries.

However, Secretary Bello will still not recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the lifting of the total deployment ban in the said Gulf state even if the MOU is signed.

The secretary said he gave two conditions for the lifting of the ban, one of which is the deliverance of justice over the death of Joanna Demafelis, the OFW who was killed and stored in a freezer.

The lifting of the ban can be reconsidered for the skilled workers but not for household service workers.

Meanwhile, some Japanese businessmen offered jobs to the labor department for the thousands of OFW repatriates from Kuwait.

“I had a meeting with some Japanese businessmen. They are targeting our repatriated overseas worker from Kuwait and they are offering jobs for their in-flight catering services. They are offering a good salary of $800. Initially, they are targeting 1,000 for a start,” said the labor chief.

Starting in May, Bello said DOLE will start deploying OFWs to Japan once contracts of the first batch of repatriates to be recruited are approved. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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POEA to blacklist Kuwaiti beauty blogger over ‘racist’ remarks

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2018

 

 

Kuwaiti beauty blogger Sondos Alqattan (Image taken from Instagram @sondos_aq)

 

Kuwaiti social media star and beauty blogger Sondos Alqattan went viral on social media for her racist remarks on Filipino migrant workers for having a regular day-off and employer ’s non-confiscation of household workers’ passports.

Her remarks sparked outrage not only from Filipinos and foreign nationals but also among her fellow Kuwaiti citizens.

Due to this, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is studying to blacklist Alqattan.

“Titingan natin dito na hindi na siya magbe-benefit doon sa ating deployment process, madi-disqualify siya to apply for a deployment of a Filipino worker dahil ayaw niyang sumunod,” said POEA Usec. Bernard Olalia.

Olalia emphasized that the labor agreement between the Philippines and Kuwait is clear-cut to protect the rights and ensure the safety of the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Kuwait.

This includes rest day, right to keep their documents such as passports and the right accommodation and food among others.

“Ito ay mandatory. Hindi ito directory. Hindi recommendatory at nobody can even question that, not even any foreign employers and entities. That is our law and they should respect that,” said Olalia.

POEA has warned foreign nationals of blacklisting those who will disregard the labor agreement signed by the Philippines and their countries.

Meanwhile, the group Migrante Internacional has urged for the public apology of the Kuwaiti media star over her controversial comments.

“Humihingi kami sa kanya ng public apology. Humihingi ka sa kanya ng pagre-reverse ng kanyang mga statement at hinahamon namin siya na kilalanin at alamin ang kalagayan ng mga domestic helper para malaman niya kung bakit sila nagta-trabaho doon at bakit kailangan nila ng sapat na pahinga. Bakit nila kailangan ng sapat na kompensasyon at bakit sila dapat na ituring na tao,” said Migrante Internacional spokesperson Arman Hernando.

Several companies reportedly canceled their endorsement deals with Alqattan following the issue.

A London-based cosmetic brand said they have decided to remove the videos of Alqattan from their social media channels.

In a new video post, Alqattan has refused to issue a public apology for her comments.

She defended that she has no regrets over her statements against Filipino domestic helpers.

Alqattan has over two million followers on her social media accounts and known for her makeup tutorial videos. — UNTV News & Rescue

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More OFWs in Kuwait register for 2019 polls

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Kuwait register for the overseas absentee voting program.

 

KUWAIT – The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait is pleased to announce that it has surpassed its target of overseas absentee voting (OAV) registration by almost 50 percent.

The Embassy said there are more or less 260,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Kuwait. To date, they already have registered more than 42,000 overseas voters.

 Actually, ang target natin mula noong December 2016 hanggang 2018 ay 28,834. From that date up to the present, ang registered na is 42,596 so na-reach na natin ang target natin,” said Charge d’ Affair, a.i. Mohd. Noordin P.N. Lomondot.

In 2016, around 49,000 OFWs in Kuwait voted in the presidential elections. Lomondot is confident that the voter’s turn out in the 2019 midterm polls will be higher among OFWs in the Gulf State.

The Embassy is continuously encouraging Filipinos in Kuwait who were not able to vote in the past two consecutive elections to reactivate their registration to be able to join the elections next year.

The last day of the overseas registration is on September 30, 2018.

Overseas registration hits 1.6 million mark – DFA

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs- Overseas Voting Secretariat is confident that before the deadline, the agency will be able to register around 1.9 million potential overseas voters in the upcoming 2019 midterm elections.

As of May 2018, the agency has registered more than 1.6 million Filipino voters in different countries, already surpassing the previous record of 1.376 million absentee voters for to the 2016 Presidential Elections. – Sonny Delos Reyes / Marje Pelayo

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Filipino workers in high demand in Kuwait

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

 

Overseas Filipino workers arrive home from the Middle East (PHOTOVILLE International)

KUWAIT – The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait reported the overwhelming increase in the number of job orders from Kuwaiti employers for overseas Filipino workers in the Gulf State.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the total deployment ban on Filipino workers to Kuwait and finally signed a labor agreement ensuring the protection of OFWs.

“Hindi po bumababa sa 40 hanggang 50 na mga bagong employer ang nagsasadya sa embahada, dito po sa POLO, upang magpa-proseso ng kanilang mga dokumento,” attested Labor Attache Resty Dela Fuente.

Dela Fuente said they have been very strict when it comes to the screening of job order applications in consideration with the provisions set in the labor agreement on the security and safety of Filipino workers, especially the household helpers.

The agreement states that Kuwaiti employers shall allow Filipino domestic helpers to have enough resting hours, possess cellphones, enjoy holidays and rest days, and keep their passports with them.

However, Dela Fuente clarified that the two governments are still discussing and finalizing some more details in order to expedite the processing of applications of Filipino workers to the Gulf State.

“Talagang nagkakaroon ng mga kaunting mga adjustment pa. Nagiging bukas bawat isa. Sinasabi sa ating ng mga employer, sinasabi rin ng kanilang pamahalaan kung ano yung dapat pang i-improve,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) directed Foreign Recruitment Agencies (FRAs) to observe proper recruitment guidelines in accepting applications for Filipino household service workers.

“Para din po yun sa safety ng mga manggagawa ay ma-secure natin lalong lalo na po yung household service workers na kababaihan, alam na po natin nasa Muslim country kaya dapat may proteksyon…dapat isama na rin more training at wag po i-deploy ang hindi po nakapag-training,” said Ana Del Mundo, vice chair of the Philippine Society of Marketing Specialist Kuwait.

Despite the positive developments, Del Mundo said it is still necessary for the Philippine government to send an ambassador who will maneuver the actions of the embassy in further protecting the Filipinos in Kuwait.

“Ang role ng isang ambassador ay isang ama ng lahat ng Filipino dito… Hindi ba po mas effective ang isang tahanan kung may ama dahil siya ang guide? Siya ang navigator,” concluded Del Mundo.

The Philippine-Kuwait labor agreement on OFW protection suffered intense setbacks following a diplomatic row between the two governments over a controversial rescue mission of some distressed OFWs.

President Duterte has not yet appointed a new ambassador to Kuwait after the latter declared former Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa a persona non grata in line with the controversy. – Mylene Soriano / Marje Pelayo

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