Philippines Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz attended the Filipino Community (Filcom) event held at Qadsiya Gym in Hawally, Friday morning. The event, which was organized by forty two different Filipino organizations in Kuwait, impressed the Philippines Labor Secretary due to a huge turn-out of Overseas Filipino Workers who came to welcome the Philippine official to Kuwait.
Prior to the Secretary’s arrival to the venue, an hour of Zumba session led by Lyle Colina of Skeptron perked the morning of those who came early to exercise, followed by a shared breakfast prepared by different organizations. Fun and entertaining games followed and attracted the participation by members and officials of FILCOM.
The arrival of the guest was announced and bearing the flag of the Philippines and insignia of the department Baldoz heads entered followed by the Philippine Labor Attaché Atty. Cesar Chavez and other delegates from different affiliated departments in the Philippines. Badoz graced an interview with GMA 7 and The Times Kuwait prior to the start of event.
Charges D’ Affaires Atty. Raul Dado and Labor Attaché Atty. Cesar Chavez were called to give brief remarks and later introduced the Philippine official.
In her speech, Labor Secretary Baldoz highlighted several important and vital issues in particular those that benefit the OFWs in Kuwait and the Middle East. When asked as to what the Philippines has proposed to the GCC countries in relation to protection of workers in particular the house helper, Secretary Baldoz said that seminars such as Pre-Departure, Post Arrival and Re-integration programs for deployed workers won the approval of the participating countries in the 3rd Abu Dhabi Dialogue held on the 26 and 27 November in Kuwait.
The design of modules to further implement the programs will be designed by UAE and Philippines in the quarter of the coming year. The Labor Secretary also commented on the latest updates released to media by Kuwait Labor implementing new regulations such as non confiscation of passports of employees by employers, regular working hours with rest, weekly day-offs, permission to live outside employers’ residences and more. “I believe its time to sit down, discuss and put to test further with what Kuwait has announced in the media recently and to further discuss towards bilateral negotiations the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Kuwait and Philippines in 2012, commented Baldoz.
Among other important areas include the implementation in the Philippines higher education courses identified by GCC countries, along with requirements to the standards of the GCC countries. Several courses have been identified. On the issue of Moratorium banning deployment of house helpers in Kuwait fostered by an advocacy group, the Secretary said that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has not issued approval nor nodded on the moratorium but has already stopped approval of establishment of foreign and local recruitment agencies. “POLO believes that there are sufficient agencies that can handle selection and deployment of highly qualified applicants and only those who are compliant will be allowed”, stated Baldoz.
The Secretary also called upon the media to highlight more in their news the good accomplishments of Filipinos in Kuwait rather than the bad ones. She said “I also would like to ask our friends in the media to focus on the achievements OFWs in Kuwait in order for us to keep earning the respect and good repute that Filipinos are the most preferred workers abroad and maintain our impression as world class workers, although the not so good news are challenges for my department to further improve the services for our countrymen”.
“I am very grateful to FILCOM for this overwhelming welcome prepared during my visit to Kuwait. This is a big group and I am thankful that they all came to meet me in person. I want to thank them personally for extending their support and assistance to the embassy and shelters. Their voluntary works are extended arms and hearts of our department for our less fortunate countrymen in Kuwait. Rest assured that that we will always be here for OFWs around the world to provide the best services in protection of their welfare and rights. I thank in particular Claire Constantino, Pastor Gil Bantugan, Oliver Diong and Arthur Tabunda along with forty two FILCOM organizations for this overwhelming welcome” concluded Baldoz.
A sumptuous lunch prepared and contributed by organizations and CDA Atty. Dado were shared by the community and Secretary Baldoz.
By Ricky Laxa