PH to scale down deployment of workers to Kuwait

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2020   •   602

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday said it is scaling down the deployment of workers to Kuwait over its new requirement for returning expatriates from the Philippines and nine other nations to present proof they are not infected with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said scaling down of deployment means that the government will slow down the issuance of overseas employment certificates (OEC) by delaying its processing for one month.

An OEC is an exit clearance for departing Filipino migrant workers.

“It’s not a retaliatory order, it’s a practical order. They are requiring so many requirements for our workers, that’s giving more burden to our workers. In order to prevent our workers from going there, they might as well go to other countries,” Bello told reporters in a briefing.

He, however, said he has spoken with the Department of Foreign Affairs to work out an arrangement with Kuwaiti authorities to honor medical certificates issued by Department of Health-run hospitals and local health centers, which are issued for free.

Kuwait, which reported 56 confirmed coronavirus infections, announced on Wednesday that expatriates from the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Georgia and Lebanon.

READ: Expats from Philippines, 9 other countries returning to Kuwait to face new protocol amid COVID-19 spread

The new travel protocol, which will take effect on March 8, requires expatriates to undergo medical examination and present certificates that confirms they are not infected with the virus before entering the Gulf state.

These certificates must be issued by health centers approved by the Embassy of State of Kuwait. If there is no Kuwaiti embassy in these countries, they must be certified by the health authorities operating in the said countries.

Expatriates failing to comply with the new protocol will be denied entry to Kuwait and deported to their country of origin “without the State bearing any financial costs” through the same carrier.

The airline company will also be fined for violating the order.

The country’s partial deployment ban to Kuwait remains in place, only allowing semi-skilled, skilled, and professional workers to return to their employers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

DOLE survey shows workers want more secure bike lanes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 15, 2020

Filipino workers want more secure bike lanes and parking, based on the recent survey of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“Majority of the workers are in favor of having more bike lanes on paved roads, bike paths, and more secured bike parking,” the Labor Department said in a statement.

Respondents also said feeling unsafe is what prevents them from using the bike as transportation. They do not feel safe traveling due to poor road conditions as well as lack of secured bike parking areas.

DOLE conducted the survey in line with their Bike-to-Work Project, which aims to assist workers in this time of pandemic by providing bicycles as a transport option or a livelihood opportunity.

The survey yielded a total of 1,119 respondents, with the majority of them coming from the National Capital Region (NCR).

“The preliminary results of the research, which was carried out at the onset of the relaxing of community quarantine in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, were presented to DOLE Senior officials to discuss possible projects and policy recommendations,” DOLE said. -AAC

Free online courses for Filipino seafarers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 14, 2020

Filipino seafarers can have access to the courses being offered by the government for free, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), an agency under DOLE, has launched online courses especially designed to teach personal safety and skills enhancement for maritime workers.

“This is our way of keeping our seafarers active and productive whether they are at their respective homes spending quality time with their families, in quarantine facilities, or even when onboard ships. They will be able to receive their Certificate of Completion upon successful fulfillment of the online courses,” according to NMP Executive Director Joel Maglunsod.

Interested individuals may visit the NMP website at www.nmp.gov.ph or visit the agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ nmptrainingcenter). AAC 

Filipino on Kuwait death row gets Amiri pardon, flies home to PH

Marje Pelayo   •   September 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government of Kuwait has granted clemency to overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Bienvenido Espino after serving 13 years in jail on death row for the murder of his Filipina partner in 2008.

According to Philippine Embassy in Kuwait Charge D’affaires and Consul General Pendosina Lomondot, Espino was pardoned by the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during the recently concluded Eid season, along with other Filipino detainees at Sulaibiya Central Jail.

“On behalf of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, my deepest and most profound gratitude goes to His Highness The Amir for granting clemency to OFW Bienvenido Espino, and for giving our kababayan a chance to start a new life in the Philippines,” Chargé d’Affaires Lomondot said.

In May 2008, the Kuwaiti Court of First Instance found Espino guilty of murdering his Filipina partner in October 2007, and sentenced him to death by hanging. 

The said decision was upheld by the Kuwaiti Court of Appeals in January 2009, and by the Kuwait Court of Cassation in November 2009.

However, Espino received a tanazul or letter of forgiveness from the family of his late Filipina partner after settling the blood money for the crime. 

The issuance of a tanazul led to the commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment in 2013. 

Lomondot said Espino’s case had been under negotiation since the administrations of Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno S. Aquino III.  

The embassy official sent off Espino at the Kuwait International Airport on August 30 along with other Filipinos who availed the repatriation flight arranged by the Philippine government for OFWs who wish to return home due to the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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