Bishops' group wants PH-Kuwait MOA be adopted in Gulf region

By Ferdinand Patinio

May 18, 2018, 4:14 pm

MANILA -- The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines - Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) is hoping that the agreement signed by the Philippine and Kuwaiti governments to protect Filipino workers, would be adopted by other countries in the Gulf region, its chief said Friday.

CBCP-ECMI chairperson Bishop Ruperto Santos noted that the agreement would ensure the safety of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the host nation.

“Yes, it is better in Kuwait, with the MOA. And we hope and support that there will be like this, MOA, with other Gulf countries,” he said in a text message.

“The signing of the MOA bears the initial fruit of partial lifting of deployment ban for skilled workers. We hope and pray that both parties would fulfill and be faithful to the MOA,” the Bataan prelate added.

He said the signing of the MOA would benefit both countries.

“Respecting the MOA surely normalizes the relationship between our country and Kuwait. Promoting and protecting the welfare and well-being of workers will be both for the best and beneficial to both countries,” Santos said. “We support the MOA and appreciate the lifting of the deployment ban.”

On May 16, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the lifting of the total deployment ban on OFWs to Kuwait, three months after the ban was implemented due to the number of abuse cases involving Filipino household service workers. The tipping point was the case of Joanna Demafelis, whose body was stashed inside a freezer in Kuwait.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello signed Administrative Order Nos. 254 and 254 A, lifting the total ban on the deployment of newly-hired professionals, skilled, semi-skilled workers and domestic workers, respectively. (PNA)