Kuwait OFW ban stays for now, labor chief says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 26 2018 08:33 AM | Updated as of Dec 12 2019 03:44 PM

The sister of Joanna Demafelis, a Filipina worker who was killed and found inside a freezer in Kuwait, cries over a crate containing the slain OFW's body upon arrival at an air cargo building in Parañaque. Photo taken February 16, 2018. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA - The ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait will remain for now, even after the arrest of 2 suspects in the killing of a Filipina in the Middle East state, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Monday.

Citing President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncement, the deployment ban would stay until the slain Filipina, Joanna Demafelis, gets justice and Kuwait guarantees the protection of overseas Filipino workers, Bello told DZMM.

Kuwait also has not acted on the Philippines' request for a bilateral accord that will bar Kuwaiti nationals from confiscating the passports and moving the place of work of OFWs.

"So far, wala kaming nakikitang kalinawan doon," Bello said.

(So far, we have yet to get clarity on that.)

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Duterte earlier this month banned the deployment of new OFWs to Kuwait after 29-year-old Demafelis was found dead in a freezer.

Demafelis' employers, a Lebanese-Syrian couple, was tagged in the killing. They were arrested last week.

The arrest affirms Kuwait's commitment to giving justice to the slain Filipina, which Duterte appreciates, said the labor chief.

Authorities are now tracking Demafelis' recruiters and assessing the impact of the deployment ban on the families of OFWs, Bello said.

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.