Blacklisting system of erring employers in Kuwait pushed

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

January 31, 2023, 7:56 pm Updated on January 31, 2023, 11:19 pm

<p>Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo (File photo)

MANILA – The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs said Tuesday the government could employ a blacklisting system against abusive and erring employers and recruitment agencies to protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deployed to Kuwait.

During a Laging Handa public briefing, Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo said blacklisting Kuwaiti employers and recruitment agencies with bad track records would be a preventive measure to bar them from hiring OFWs.

"Maraming mga bagay din na pinag-usapan kahapon, iyong binabanggit po natin na proactive measures; kasama po diyan, ang tinatawag nating blacklisting. Kasi lumalabas na may 6,000 po na reports nang pang-aabuso, etcetera, etcetera laban sa mga foreign employers doon sa Kuwait ang ating mga manggagawang Pilipino. Ang tanong: Doon sa 6,000 po na complaints, eh kasama po kaya sila doon sa na-blacklist na? (There were a lot of things that were discussed yesterday regarding proactive measures. One of them is what we call blacklisting. There are about 6,000 reports of abuse, etc. from our Filipino workers against foreign employers in Kuwait. The question is: out of the 6,000 complaints, are they [abusive foreign employers] already included in the blacklist?)" Salo said.

He also emphasized the need for recruitment agencies to monitor the working conditions of OFWs after the killing of Jullebee Ranara, the 35-year-old household worker whose burnt body was found in a desert in Kuwait a week ago.

"And, may magandang pong binabanggit din si Secretary Toots Ople, kung possible na magkaroon po tayo ng algorithm na for example, in certain areas na very prone doon sa pang-aabuso or certain types of groups or certain sector, mataas po iyong chance na maabuso, eh dapat mas babantayan po ng recruitment agency at ng DMW (Department of Migrant Workers) natin (Secretary Toots Ople made a good suggestion. If it is possible to create an algorithm wherein for example, in certain areas, groups, or sectors with high rates or chance of abuse, the recruitment agencies and the DMW could closely monitor these)," he said.

Salo said his panel would schedule its own hearing on Ranara's death by next week.

Ranara's burned body was found in a desert in Kuwait last week. The suspect, the 17-year-old son of Ranara's employers, is now in the custody of Kuwaiti authorities.

Ranara's body was brought home last Friday.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Monday Ranara’s retirement and death benefits have been turned over by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to her family.

He said the OWWA has also extended burial assistance and support for her four children’s educational needs.

Meanwhile, Marcos said the government is also scheduling bilateral meetings with the government of Kuwait to review its bilateral labor agreement with the Gulf state. (PNA)