By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
MALACAÑANG on Monday said the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Philippines and Kuwait on the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should be reviewed following the recent killing of a Filipina domestic helper in the Persian Gulf state.
Asked to comment on the call of labor group Migrante for the government to review the MoU, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo told reporters on Monday, “I think we should. Because according to (Labor) Secretary (Silvestre H.) Bello, there has been a breach in the agreement signed by the two countries.”
“Of course, the President is concerned but he is waiting for the result of the investigation,” Mr. Panelo also said, referring to a report being prepared by Mr. Bello.
Mr. Panelo said Mr. Bello has instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait to identify and investigate the agency that arranged the employment of the victim identified as Constancia Lago Dayag of Angadanan, Isabela.
“The Secretary of Labor has already issued an official statement. He is putting the government in Kuwait to task for the murder of our countryman,” Mr. Panelo said.
The Philippines and Kuwait signed last year an MoU aimed at protecting Filipino workers in the Persian Gulf state.
The government of Kuwait agreed to grant repatriation of Filipino workers who need help.
Mr. Duterte demanded that the agreement should include “mandatory provisions” on allowing Filipino household workers to sleep at least seven hours a day, ensuring that they eat nutritious food, protection from sexual harassment, and on prohibiting the confiscation of passports, among others.
In a statement on Sunday, Migrante-Philippines said: “Si Constancia, 47 taong gulang, ay idineploy ng gobyernong ito bilang domestic worker sa kaniyang among Kuwaiti noong Enero, 2016. Noong Mayo 14, patay na nang dalhin siya sa Al Sabah Hospital sa Kuwait….” (Constancia, 47 years old, was deployed by this government as a domestic worker to his Kuwaiti employer in January 2016. On May 14, she had died on being taken to Al Sabah Hospital in Kuwait.”
“Pinatutunayan din ng pangyayaring ito na walang silbi ang Memorandum of Understanding sa pagitan ng Kuwait at Pilipinas. Wala itong pinagtibay kundi ang regularidad ng eksportasyon ng mura at siil na kababaihang manggagawa sa Kuwait,” the group added. (This incident proves that the MoU between the Philippines and Kuwait is useless. It does not strengthen anything but the regular exportation of cheap and exploited women workers to Kuwait).