The workers group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines has expressed disappointment and urged the government to reconsider its decision lifting the deportation ban in Kuwait amid the brutal death of overseas Filipino worker Jeanelyn Villavende.
On Friday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced the government would resume the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait after the governing board of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration approved a resolution lifting the ban.
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“We cannot understand the lack of empathy of Secretary Bello for the plight of some 200 OFWs who have died under suspicious circumstances in Kuwait and the ongoing search for justice for Jeanalynn. That Sec. Bello announced the lifting of the ban in his meeting with local recruitment agencies clearly revealed Bello’s misplaced priorities,” said TUCP president Raymond Mendoza.
“It is clear that the DOLE and POEA place the private business interest of recruiters first while treating the public interest concerns of OFWs as an afterthought. This leaves a bad taste in our mouths. DOLE and POEA are dealing a disservice to our President’s advocacy for OFWs,” he added.
Mendoza said the POEA and DOLE “first failed our OFWs when they slept on their jobs, failing to obtain a harmonized employment contract for our OFWs when Kuwait signed to an MOA in May 2018 which could have prevented the deaths of OFWs Dayag and Villavende in 2019.”
“Second, these agencies have not successfully concluded deliberations on contentious items including the continuing demand by Kuwait that the Philippine Embassy close down its shelters for runaway OFWs. So, if it is closed down, who can our OFWs turn to now in Kuwait? Where can they go to be protected,” he said.
“Third, justice has not yet been secured for Jeanalynn Villavende. The DOLE and POEA are sending a political signal to Kuwait that we value the business side involved in the deployment of HSWs to Kuwait rather than the lives of Filipinos,” added Mendoza.
Bello, who chairs the POEA governing board, said the approval was made in view of the filing of charges against the suspected killers of Villavende.
Last month, the department imposed a total deployment ban of OFWs
to Kuwait following the findings by the National Bureau of Investigation that Villavende was sexually abused and brutally murdered.
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