MANILA/KUWAIT: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will meet with Kuwait’s Ambassador to the Philippines Musaed Saleh Al-Thwaikh today to discuss the suspension of overseas foreign workers (OFW) deployment to Kuwait, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced yesterday.
At a press briefing, Bello said Duterte and Thwaikh may also discuss the long-delayed signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will give Filipino workers greater protection in Kuwait, the Philippine-based GMA News reported. Bello said they are still evaluating “conflicting” reports from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Kuwait Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) regarding the condition of OFWs in Kuwait.
Duterte’s meeting with Thwaikh and the results of the report of the Philippine labor attaché in Kuwait will be major factors in assessing whether or not the deployment suspension will be lifted, Bello said. If, however, just one of the maltreatment cases under investigation turns out to be factual, Bello said they will strongly consider a total deployment ban.
Duterte will also meet with labor groups today to discuss the executive order that will ban signing contracts if it interferes with a worker’s right to secure tenure, organize into unions, and bargain collectively. Bello announced on Monday that they are still mulling whether or not they will “make the suspension a total ban or to lift it.” There is an estimated 250,000 OFWs in Kuwait, 75 percent of them working as domestic helpers.
By A Saleh and Meshaal Al-Enezi