Kuwait-bound 'kasambahays' may be diverted to HK, Singapore, Cyprus: POEA

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2018 11:15 AM | Updated as of Feb 28 2018 12:07 PM

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MANILA - First-time kasambahays barred from leaving for Kuwait may instead be sent to other countries, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said Wednesday.

These individuals, who were affected by the deployment ban to the Gulf state, may be sent to the likes of Hong Kong, Cyprus, or Singapore, which also have a high demand for household service workers, said POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia.

"It’s a stop-gap measure to address the problem, but that’s not the long-term goal," he told ANC's Headstart.

Duterte, who had earlier warned of pulling Filipinos out of Kuwait amid reports of deaths and abuses of OFWs, made the directive following the death of household service worker Joanna Demafelis, who was found in a freezer.

Government officials said the deployment ban will stay even after Demafelis' employers, the primary suspects in her death, have been arrested.

Olalia said they may recommend that the deployment ban be also imposed in other countries in order to protect the Filipinos, especially the household service workers, who are "vulnerable."

"If their protection and security are not assured then we have to advise the President that the total deployment ban should be imposed," he said.

The administration is currently eyeing a memorandum of understanding between the Philippines and Kuwait for the protection of overseas Filipino workers by March, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.