PH, Kuwait fail to agree on draft deal for OFW protection

Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2018 07:50 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2018 09:27 PM

PH, Kuwait fail to agree on draft deal for OFW protection 1
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Kuwait arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila on Monday, February 12, 2018, under government's repatriation program. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines and Kuwait have failed to agree on a draft deal for the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Friday. 

Representatives from both countries were supposed to work out a final draft for a memorandum of understanding for the protection of migrant workers amid a string of reported deaths and maltreatment of Philippine workers in the Gulf state.

Bello said there was an impasse on issues involving contracts and passports. 

He refused to provide further details but the Secretary earlier mentioned certain demands from the Philippine government, which includes prohibiting employers from confiscating OFWs' passports.

The two sides have yet to schedule another meeting. 

The talks came following the Philippine government's ban on the deployment of workers to the Gulf state, prompted by reported deaths of Filipino domestic workers there, including that of Iloilo native Joanna Demafelis. 

The murder of 29-year-old Demafelis, whose body was found in a freezer in an abandoned apartment in February, prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare the ban. 

Demafelis' Syrian-Lebanese employers are in custody over her death. 

Bello earlier announced the deployment ban would only be lifted once an agreement on better safeguards for Filipino workers has been reached with Kuwait.