KUWAIT - Overseas Filipino workers in Kuwait will have a day off, cellphones, good food, and their passports deposited at the Philippine embassy instead of their employers.
These are among the key points agreed upon in a meeting on Wednesday between the Philippine delegation and officials of Kuwait's Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"Now 'yung pagkain po, hindi talaga nakasulat na pwede sila magluto pero nakasulat doon 'yung obligasyon na kailangan bigyan ng disenteng pagkain at tulugan 'yung ating mga kababayan," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters in Kuwait.
"'Yung pagkakaroon po ng cellphone, 'yun ang pamamaraan para matawagan nila ang hotline kung meron silang problema o kaya naman sila ay inaapi."
"At sa a-onse po yung araw na inaasahan natin na magkakaroon po ng lagdaan po ng memorandum of agreement," he said.
Aside from agreeing to push through with the signing of the MOA, Kuwait also agreed to create a special unit within the local police that the Philippine Embassy could liaison with in addressing calls for help from Filipino workers.
A phone number where Filipinos can call for assistance will also be set up.
Over 500 of the 600 wards at the POLO-OWWA will be given an exit clearance and allowed to go home, with the Kuwait government providing airline tickets, according to Philippine officials. Around 150 will be flying out with the Philippine delegation on May 11 and the rest to follow.
Around 62 with pending cases will be left behind but will follow once their cases are cleared.
The Domestic Workers or Visa 20 which used to be under Kuwait's Ministry of Interior (MOI) has been transferred now under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour which means better protection for the domestic workers, Philippine officials said.
The Filipino delegation that negotiated with Kuwaiti officials includes Roque, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello II, former Labor Secretary Marianito Roque, Labor Attaché Rustico dela Fuente, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait Mohd Noordin Lomondot.