Kuwait-based OFWs on vacation exempt from deployment ban

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2018 03:19 PM

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) from Kuwait arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila on Monday, February 12, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based in Kuwait who are currently on vacation are not covered by the Philippine government's deployment ban to the Gulf state, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday.

The DOJ made the clarification in a statement following a new directive from the Department of Labor and Employment exempting 'Balik Manggagawa' Filipinos from the deployment ban. 

Kuwait-bound Filipinos with short-term non-working visas are also not covered by the ban, and would also be allowed to depart.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI), an agency under the DOJ, has also instructed its port operations division to ensure that Filipino workers returning to Kuwait are "properly documented and subjected to the usual immigration departure formalities.” 

​“With this development, there is no more obstacle and impediment for these ‘Balik Manggagawa’ OFWs to return to their jobs in Kuwait. As for those who have just been recruited to work in Kuwait, we are sorry but we cannot let you leave," BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

Earlier, immigration officers barred more than a hundred Kuwait-bound OFWs from leaving the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in light of the announced total deployment ban to the emirate.

The total deployment ban was imposed upon the instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte, who slammed recent deaths of 7 Filipino workers in Kuwait, including Joanna Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer at an abandoned apartment in the Gulf state.

Duterte has also ordered government agencies to facilitate the repatriation of Kuwait-based OFWs who would like to go home.