MANILA – Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III has vowed to implement a deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East if another Filipino worker is executed there.
Bello issued the threat three days after meeting officials of recruitment agencies engaged in sending OFWs to the Middle East.
"I said that kayong mga agency owners, including yung mga counterpart, you better talk to your people out there especially in the Middle East. I said if another OFW is executed, then I will seriously consider banning deployment of our OFWs in the Middle East," Bello said.
Domestic worker Jakatia Pawa was executed last month in Kuwait for the murder of her employer's daughter. Until the end, Pawa maintained her innocence.
Bello also belittled the effect of the planned ban on OFW deployment as this will only cover domestic helpers.
"Ang ban naman is only on household naman e kasi ito yung madalas nagiging victim ng maltreatment, harassment," he said.
Asked what will make him lift the temporary ban if ever it is really imposed, Bello said: "Kung halimbawa they will show more compassion to our OFW workers, especially our household workers o yung domestic workers natin, ili-lift ko. Kasi we have to make sure that our OFWs are well protected especially their lives."
Bello said he is closely monitoring the performance of a number of personnel of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the Middle East due to numerous complaints against them by OFWs.