Philippines imposes 'total ban' on citizens taking up jobs in Kuwait

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA - (UPDATE, 8:52 A.M.) President Rodrigo Duterte ordered at the weekend the extension of the deployment ban on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait, and leading carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific announced plans to mount special flights to help bring home OFWs wishing to return after suffering abuse.

Meanwhile, Cacdac said among the assistance that will be extended to the family of Joanna are death and burial benefits, livelihood assistance, financial assistance, and repatriation cost after the investigation of the Kuwait authorities.

The Philippines is one of the primary sources of domestic workers overseas, including Singapore, China's Hong Kong and Middle East countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The woman's body bore torture marks and indications that she was strangled to death.

The suspension of the processing of new employment certificates for Kuwait-bound however was not enough for the President, who wanted to "send a strong message" through a total OFW deployment ban, said Labor Secretary Bello.

Duterte said he would ask two airlines to provide transportation for OFWs who want to come home.

The DFA and the DOLE officials led by DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola received on Monday, the first batch of 377 workers who were repatriated on three commercial flights that left Kuwait on Sunday afternoon.

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Unexplained deaths were also reported in the Gulf state involving Filipino household service workers.

In addition to the special flights, PAL has been repatriating OFWs using its four weekly Kuwait - Manila regular flights over the past few months.

According to Arriola, the Philippine Embassy and the Polo office in Kuwait are now rushing to repatriate as many as 10,000 overstaying Filipinos, who are expected to avail themselves of an amnesty program arranged with the Kuwaiti government.

As this developed, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) vowed to strictly carry out President Duterte's directive to prevent more workers from reaching the Gulf state.

Kuwait authorities are looking to resolve the issue with the Filipino government and with Interpol on the case. It is also in the process of formulating a set of policy and other recommendations so that the government will have additional options on how to "save" OFWs from slavery and human trafficking. 'We support the President's call to continuously ban the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait.

'We are outraged by this latest terrible crime against our overseas Filipino workers, ' he added.

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