(Photo Credit: AP)
The Philippines Ministry of Migrant Labor announced that Manila is preparing to blacklist recruitment agencies in Kuwait over countless violations of labor agreements between the two countries, including domestic abuse and rape cases.
The ministry remarked that the Kuwaiti offices included on the blacklist would be prohibited from bringing in any Filipino workers in the future.
Secretary of the Department of Migrant Workers of the Philippines, Susan Ople, claimed that Manila and Kuwait City are preparing to hold discussions to examine loopholes and weaknesses in their bilateral labor agreements.
Under the new regulations, the processing of individual employment contracts will be limited to 20 per week for each foreign employment agency.
The National reported that Manila’s government is collaborating with the Kuwaiti authorities to resolve this specific issue after discovering the body of an overseas Filipino worker Jullebee Ranara on 21 January, who was raped and murdered, according to local authorities.
According to Al Rai newspaper, an autopsy disclosed that the woman was pregnant at the time of her death.
Ople addressed the predicament: “Maybe it’s time to review the 2018 bilateral labor agreement so that it would be similar to the bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia, which has more safeguards for our workers.”
On 24 January, Filipino Senator Jinggoy Estrada called for the abolition of the “Kafala” system to protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Arab states.
The Kafala system is used by Arab countries to monitor migrant workers, primarily in the domestic and construction divisions in GCC nations such as Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, as well as in Lebanon.
In 2022, the US State Department renewed its calls for Kuwait to abolish the Kafala system, noting that the step was “long overdue.”
In 2017, the Kuwaiti police detained a woman who filmed her Ethiopian house worker falling from the seventh floor of a building as she begged for help.