Philippines bans recruitment of workers to Kuwait
Manila is not yet imposing a total deployment ban in consideration of other overseas Filipinos who had worked for years in Kuwait
By News Desk - February 09 2023

(Photo Credit: The Philippines Foreign Ministry)

The Philippines has temporarily suspended sending new domestic workers to Kuwait following the murder of 35-year-old domestic worker Jullebee Ranara last month in the Gulf country.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Migrant Labor, Susan Ople, announced the decision in a statement on 8 February, explaining that it will remain in effect “until sweeping reforms are carried out and assurances are adopted to protect workers” following upcoming bilateral talks with Kuwaiti officials, according to the newspaper Philstar.

“Alternative destinations for Filipino domestic workers are available. Hong Kong remains a strong alternative and is much closer to home and we also have Singapore with which we have a very good relationship,” she added.

Following the horrible murder of Jullebee Ranara last month, more than 114 Filipina housekeepers departed Kuwait in less than four days, according to the Al-Arabiya daily. The 17-year-old son of Ranara’s then employers is accused of raping the 35-year-old woman, before burning and killing her.

The Ministry of Migrant Labor also announced a few days ago, that Manila is preparing to blacklist recruitment agencies in Kuwait over numerous violations of labor agreements between the two countries.

Secretary Ople claimed that Manila and Kuwait City are preparing to hold discussions to examine loopholes and weaknesses in their bilateral labor agreements.

Meanwhile, on 24 January, Filipino Senator Jinggoy Estrada called for the abolition of the “Kafala” system, in an effort to protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Arab states.

The Kafala system is used to monitor migrant workers, primarily in the domestic and construction sectors, in GCC nations including Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, as well as in Lebanon.

Currently, Kuwait employs about 268,000 Filipinos, many of whom are domestic workers.

Due to extreme poverty and unemployment, 10 percent of the 110 million people living in the Philippines have left the country. Cash remittances sent by Filipinos working abroad to family members at home are essential to keeping the Philippine economy afloat. Large numbers of Filipinos live or work in more than 200 other nations.

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