Manila, Kuwait eye OFW protection deal before Ramadan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2018 04:01 PM

FILE PHOTO: Filipino Overseas Foreign 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 - The Philippine and Kuwaiti governments hope to sign a deal for the protection of Filipino migrant workers before the start of Ramadan in May, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday. 

Talks for the landmark pact came after the reported deaths of several Filipino workers in Kuwait, including maid Joanna Demafelis, which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the deployment of OFWs to the Gulf State. 

"Both sides hope that it (accord) can be signed before Ramadan," Cayetano told reporters. 

The holy month of fasting among Muslims will start on May 16. 

The bilateral accord will bar Kuwaiti nationals from confiscating the passports and moving the place of work of OFWs, the government earlier said. 

The deployment ban would only be lifted once an agreement on better safeguards for Filipino workers has been reached with Kuwait, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said. 

The Philippine government has requested the signing of the pact to be held in Manila, said Cayetano. 
 
Some 252,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many as maids. They are among over 2 million employed in the region, whose remittances are a lifeline to the Philippine economy, according to government data.