MANILA - An Emirati social media celebrity has come to the defense of a new government policy that allows Filipino household helpers in Kuwait to have days off and keep their passports.
Abu Dhabi-based Khalid Al Ameri, who has 1.2 million followers on Facebook, criticized Kuwaiti blogger Sondos al-Qattan for slamming the rights of Filipino household helpers to have days off.
"If I'm not mistaken, every job in the world - barring a few security jobs and military jobs - have a day off. A day of rest, a day to go out, a day to enjoy life," Khalid said in a Facebook vlog post.
"We are not robots at the end of the day. We are all humans and expect to have time to rest and time for ourselves," he said.
Khalid also told the Kuwaiti blogger that there is a reason why household helpers would leave her.
"If I worked for you I would run so far away, the CIA wouldn't be able to find me. I would dig a hole so deep that you wouldn't be able to smell my scent. You wouldn't hear me breathe. I would disappear, I would cease to exist. I would never show my face in this world again out of fear that you might find me and that you might ask me to work for you again," he said.
"Believe me, there's a reason they keep running away from you and maybe you are that reason," he added.
Khalid, who went viral on social media earlier this year for producing a video tribute for OFWs in the United Arab Emirates, ended his vlog with another message of appreciation for domestic helpers in the Middle East.
"On behalf of my country, on behalf of my family, I wanna thank every single domestic worker in this part of the world for helping us and for being part of our families," he said.
Al-Qattan recently made headlines after some of her sponsors cut ties with her over her comments against the rights of domestic workers in Kuwait.
Instead of apologizing, the social media influencer clarified that the passport of any expat employee "should be in the possession of the employer to protect the employer's interest irrelevant of the employee/employer nationality."
She added: "As far as the four-day-a-month off days, the condition differs from a household worker compared to a business worker. In comparison, many household employers don't allow the worker any off-days even if the contract specifies a certain number of off-days."
She also noted that she never mistreated or degraded any of her employees, both past or present.
Earlier this year, the Kuwaiti government enacted a policy that allowed Filipino domestic helpers to skirt the Arab nation's kafala sponsorship system.
Under the new policy, employers must allow Filipino house helpers to keep their passports, have at least 1 rest day, and have his or her own cellphone.
The law was enforced after President Rodrigo Duterte temporarily suspended the entry of OFWs to Kuwait due to a series of deadly abuses against Filipino maids.