Tulfo demands public apology from Kuwait, seeks probe into 'repetitive' abuses

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2023 05:05 PM

MANILA — Sen. Raffy Tulfo on Monday filed a resolution seeking a review of the Philippines' bilateral relations with Kuwait following the brutal killing of another Filipina worker in the Gulf state.

Tulfo said there is a need to "to revisit, re-examine, and review the existing bilateral agreement and standard employment contract governing OFWs in Kuwait" after the killing of Jullebee Ranara, whose charred body with smashed head and traces of alleged torture was found at the Salmi road in Kuwait on January 21, 2023.

According to Tulfo, 196 Filipino workers have died in Kuwait since 2016, and nearly 80 percent of those deaths were due to physical abuse, citing data from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

"This is not the first time that a tragedy of such nature involving Filipina domestic workers happened in the Gulf state," he said. 

In 2017, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait registered 6,000 cases of abuse, sexual harassment, and rape, the senator added.

Tulfo insisted the government must impose a deployment ban to Kuwait to "send a strong message."

"Sinabi ko total deployment ban because I want to send a strong message sa Kuwaiti, paulit-ulit na paglapastangan," the senator said in a press conference.

The lawmaker also wants Kuwait to issue a public apology.

"Number 1 hingi muna ng apology. Then let's sit down for bilateral talks, bargaining table, 'yun nag tinatawag kong deployment ban, they need us more than we need them... Ang sa akin lang wala munang ide-deploy until sila ay umupo sa atin at mag-agree sa gusto natin," he explained.

Tulfo said potential Kuwaiti employers should be screened before an OFW gets assigned to a particular household to ensure their safety.

The remains of slain Kuwait-based OFW Ranara arrived in the Philippines Friday evening.

The Department of Migrant Workers has ordered the review of the bilateral labor agreement between Philippines and Kuwait, following the killing of Ranara.

—With a report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News