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Philippines suspends recruitment of maids to Kuwait
January 20, 2018, 10:31 am

The Philippine Department of Labor And Employment has directed on 19 January the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to suspend the processing of Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC) for deployment in Kuwait, pending an investigation into the deaths of seven Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Overseas Filipino workers, Liezl Truz Hukdong, Vanessa Karissha L. Esguerra, Maria Fe Saliling Librada, Arlene Castillo Manzano, Devine Riche Encarnacion, Patrick Sunga and Mira Luna Juntilla were found dead in various incidents over a period of time with investigations still ongoing to uncover the causes of death.

Their deaths were alluded to in recent remarks by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who warned of a total ban on sending workers to Kuwait because of alleged sexual abuses that traumatized Filipino women and often led to their suicide. 

President Duterte added that there needed to be a discussion with Kuwait officials to highlight the issue of abuses, which are unacceptable, and that measures had to be taken to protect the rights of the OFWs.

“I do not want a quarrel with Kuwait. I respect their leaders but they have to do something about this because many Filipinas will commit suicide,” the president said in a recent speech. “We have lost about four Filipino women in the last few months. It’s always in Kuwait,” the president is reported to have said.

In response to the Philippine President’s remarks, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah, expressed his regret that the Filipino president made these remarks regarding his nation's community in Kuwait.

He pointed out that the “number of the Filipinos in Kuwait has exceeded 170,000, thus the four cases mentioned in the president statement cannot be used as a criterion to assess the overall status of the Philippines' laborers in the country". Kuwait enjoys "A bright image on treating expatriate workers and has laws that preserve their rights and organize their relations with the employers," the deputy foreign minister added.

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